GSMA confirms coronavirus threat won't halt MWC 2020

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Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) will go ahead in Barcelona as planned despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, organising body GSMA has confirmed.

There have been nearly 6,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the majority of which have been in China where there have 132 deaths - however there have been confirmed cases 16 other countries.

Amid this backdrop there are concerns that that MWC could accelerate the spread of the virus. The annual industry showpiece attracts in excess of 100,000 visitors from all corners of the globe, necessitating huge amounts of international travel and causing huge numbers of people to mix in a confined space.

MWC 2020 coronavirus

The GSMA has now said it will follow the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Chinese government, and Spanish authorities, while it will provide additional medical support and sanitising products throughout the venue. Exhibitors who may not be able to travel to Barcelona as a result of the outbreak will also be provided with support.

“The GSMA confirms that there have been no registration impacts on MWC Barcelona thus far,” said the organisation. “We strongly urge exhibitors and attendees to implement appropriate guidelines and protocols as suggested by the WHO and other health authorities to contain and mitigate against any further spread of the virus.”

Beijing has taken steps to limit the spread of the virus, while foreign governments have started to repatriate citizens in the city of Wuhan and the wider Hubei province. Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to China while British Airways has halted all flights to the country.

MWC begins on 24 February and ends on 27 February - you can read all about what we're expecting to see at the show in our MWC 2020 hub.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.