The novel coronavirus outbreak is not just claiming lives across the globe, but causing harm to trade as well. Ahead of one of technology’s biggest international events, the Mobile World Congress 2020, companies are withdrawing their participation.
We earlier saw LG, ZTE and Nvidia pull out of the event. Now Swedish company Ericsson has decided to to the same. The company will not be participating at MWC 2020 to ensure the health of its employees and the general public. Instead, Ericsson will showcase its new innovations at a separate independent event called “Ericsson Unboxed”. A similar decision was taken by LG.
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GSMA has taken a bunch of security precautions ahead of the MWC this year. This includes heavy cleaning measure and a strict “no-handshake” policy. Ericcson appreciates the measures but has regardless chosen to not participate. This is likely because of the thousands of visitors that will be in its hall each day. With a crowd, this big, neither GSMA nor Ericsson can guarantee the safety of people against the virus spreading, despite the lower risk.
Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.”
The coronavirus damage so far
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed over 700 lives and has infected over 30,000 people in China, where the outbreak originated. The virus has also spread to over 20 other countries. The mortality rate of the virus is at 2 per cent currently. The outbreak was recently declared a global health emergency and many countries are imposing flying bans to and from China as a consequence.