A visitor uses her device during last year’s Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona (Image: AP)

Sony and Amazon have pulled out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech show in Barcelona amid growing concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus.

Last week, LG and Ericcson also said they would no longer be attending MWC due to the virus that’s spreading across our planet.

Eight people have now been infected with the coronavirus here in the UK, with roughly 35,000 cases worldwide and more than 800 deaths.

In a statement, Amazon said: ‘Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.’

On its website, Sony also wrote: ‘Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020.

‘As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.’

Attendees at last year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Image: AP)

Last week, the telecommunications giant Ericcson said it had made the decision not to appear at the annual event as the ‘health and safety of employees and customers cannot be ensured’.

MWC is due to take place in Barcelona at the end of this month and is one of the largest events in the industry calendar.

Earlier last week, Korean firm LG revealed it too will not be present at the technology convention.

Ericsson said it appreciated efforts to control the risk by event organiser GSMA, but the large size of its own exhibition space means it “cannot guarantee the health and safety” of attendees.

‘The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority,” said Borje Ekholm, president and chief executive of Ericsson.

‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona.

Scientists at a lab facility in Wuhan, China (Source: AFP)

‘It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.’

The Swedish firm said it would instead showcase the demos and content planned for MWC in a series of local events.

A number of other technology heavyweights, including Sony, Samsung, Huawei and Microsoft, are due to appear at MWC.
Last week, the GSMA told the PA news agency that it was monitoring the outbreak and would put additional medical precautions in place around its venues.

In a new statement on Friday, organisers said: ‘The GSMA regret to see Ericsson’s decision not to attend MWC Barcelona this year as they are an important player in our ecosystem.

‘We respect their decision and are reassured by their commitment that they will be at MWC Barcelona 2021 in full force and our rebook trends for next year’s event remain high.

‘Ericsson’s cancellation will have some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact.’


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