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Coronavirus won’t stop Mobile World Congress despite tech companies pulling out

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The coronavirus won’t stop next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – the biggest mobile industry gathering in the world – from going ahead despite some companies staying away or cancelling their press conferences.

Mobile World Congress 2020 will still go ahead and will run from February 24-28.

GSMA, organisers of MWC, has already made plans and precautions to protect attendees including increased cleaning and disinfection and encouraging people not to shake hands at the show.

LG Electronics said it will not be traveling to MWC because of concerns about the coronavirus.

In a statement the company said: “With the safety of its employees, partners and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020.

“The decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders.”

Other major Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi will still be attending MWC.

Huawei has said it has set new rules for international travel in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak with strict screenings for employees before they are permitted to travel.

It is also believed that Oppo and Xiaomi will not be flying in journalists to Barcelona from China for Mobile World Congress.

Tech Guide accepted an invitation from Oppo months ago to travel to MWC as their guest and we haven’t heard anything further about whether the trip is still going ahead.

We assume the trip will go ahead as scheduled. We are waiting to hear back from Oppo to confirm.

It was initially thought another major Chinese phone brand ZTE had also cancelled their attendance but it announced it will just be cancelling its press conference.

Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech at MWC 2019 in Barcelona

The GSMA – the organisers of Mobile World Congress – has plans and precautions in place to “protect the health of our attendees, clients and staff.”

“GSMA colleagues around the world are taking strong measures to contain and lessen any further spread of the virus.

“These measures include adhering to advice from the World Health Organisation and other health authorities, respecting travel restrictions where they exist, arriving early in Spain to allow time for self-quarantine and ensuring access to masks.”

Here are the health measures the GSMA will have in place at MWC 2020:

– Increased cleaning and disinfection programme across all high-volume touchpoints, e.g. catering areas, surfaces, handrails, WCs, entrances/exits, public touch-screens, etc. along with the use of correct cleaning/sanitising materials and products

– Installing new signage onsite reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations

– Implementing a mic change protocol in production for speakers

– Communicating advice to all attendees to adopt a ‘no-handshake policy’

– Increased onsite medical support

– Awareness campaign via online and onsite info-share and signage

– Availability of sanitising and disinfection materials for public use

– Awareness and training to all staff and associates on standard personal preventative measures, e.g. personal hygiene, frequency of use of sanitising/disinfection products, etc.

– Advice to exhibitors on implementing effective cleaning and disinfection of stands, offices along with guidance on personal hygiene measures and common preventive behaviour

– Public health guidelines and advice communication to Barcelona hotels, public and private transport, restaurants and catering outlets, retail, etc.

– Installing new signage onsite reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations

– Implementing a mic change protocol in production for speakers

– Communicating advice to all attendees to adopt a ‘no-handshake policy’