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Facebook and Intel Withdraw From Mobile World Congress Over Coronavirus Concerns

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Facebook and Intel become the latest tech firms to announce their withdrawal from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 in Barcelona. The companies have joined other tech companies who already withdrew their attendance, citing concerns about coronavirus.


Media reports in Spain say that the trade body behind the MWC, the GSM Association will meet on 14th February 2020 to decide whether to cancel the event.


The GSMA has declined to comment on “internal meetings”. Facebook, however, cited “evolving public health risks” as the reason behind its decision.


So far, the GSMA has insisted the MWC will go on as planned. However, rumors have it that other companies are still unsure of their attendance.

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Intel in a statement explaining its withdrawal said:


“The safety and wellbeing of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year’s Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution.”


Facebook Intel mwc
Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images


The growing number of firms canceling their attendance at the mobile world congress

Huawei said it was still planning to go but was reviewing the situation “on a daily basis”. According to the BBC, Huawei will be relying heavily on its western-Europe-based staff, rather than sending over many executives from Shenzhen for the MWC.


Vivo which planned to launch its product range in the UK market at MWC 2020 is also having a change of plans. The Chinese smartphone maker announced that it would be withdrawing, saying “the health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority”.


Creators of the first foldable phone to enter the market, Royole, is also withdrawing its attendance. It would instead announce its next device, the FlexPai2, ahead of the event. McAfee has also announced its withdrawal on 12th February 2020, citing health and safety concerns.


Google and Microsoft however still plan to attend. Meanwhile, LG, ZTE and US Chipmaker NVIDIA have previously canceled their attendance at the event.


The GSMA assures the public that all visitors from China will have to be quarantined for two weeks prior to the start of the event. It is also encouraging delegates not to shake hands with each other. The body also says it will be carrying out body temperature screening.


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