Sony and Amazon pull out of Mobile World Congress due to coronavirus risk

Several Spanish media outlets, including El Mundo, said the online retailer confirmed that “due to the outbreak and continuing concerns about the new coronavirus” it would not be exhibiting or participating in the Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled from February 24 to 27.

Amazon withdrew on Sunday from attending an international telecoms conference in Barcelona later this month because of the new coronavirus.

Several Spanish media outlets, including El Mundo, said the online retailer confirmed that “due to the outbreak and continuing concerns about the new coronavirus” it would not be exhibiting or participating in the Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled from February 24 to 27.

Trade show bans visitors who’ve recently been to China

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sony and Amazon are the latest companies to cancel their presence at Mobile World Congress 2020 due to the new coronavirus outbreak. LG, ZTE, Nvidia, and Ericsson have already cancelled various events that were set to take place at MWC in Barcelona, which is the biggest mobile technology trade show on the annual calendar.

“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,” Sony says in a statement posted to its website. “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.”

Amazon, meanwhile, tells TechCrunch that “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.”

Amazon has not historically had a major consumer-focusing presence at MWC. Sony, on the other hand, often uses the show to reveal its most important mobile devices. Last year, for example, the company announced its Xperia 1 flagship phone at the show.

Yesterday the GSM Association, which organizes MWC, put out an updated statement detailing further countermeasures it is taking against the spread of the coronavirus. No travelers from China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak began, will be permitted access to the event, while anyone who’s visited other regions of China will need to prove that they have been out of the country for 14 days beforehand. With MWC set to start in two weeks today, that is likely to complicate the plans of several Chinese companies that were planning to attend.

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