Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on February 12 said that they have shelved this year's event amid fears arising due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to reports, NTT Docomo, Sony Corp and Inter Corp also withdrew from the MWC in Barcelona, Spain. The current death toll stands at 1,355 and the number of confirmed cases is more than 60,000.
According to reports, the announcement came after the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM Association) had a meeting to decide if the MWC should be conducted or not. The event was supposed to be conducted in Barcelona, Spain from February 24-27.
In a statement issued, GSMA said, "With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event."
"The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world."
According to reports, the organisers were concerned about staring at a cancellation bill of $110 million. They also faced a little bit of a hostile attitude from the authorities to declare a state of health emergency in Spain which would have allowed them to claim insurance to cover the cancellation costs. According to reports, organisers said that the decision to cancel the event was a huge blow as predictions suggested that the event was going to rake in 500 million euros.
The death toll due to the coronavirus outbreak in China has reached at least 1,355 as the number of fatalities in Hubei — the Chinese province at the centre of the epidemic — more than doubled to 242. The province also reported 14,840 new cases as it revised the method for counting infections. This brings the total number of cases in China to 60,016.