Sony today said it will withdraw from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 in Barcelona later this month due to fears over coronavirus, dealing a fresh blow to the bumper tech convention.
MWC, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors, is due to take place between 24 and 27 February, but has been hampered by a series of high-profile withdrawals.
Sony is the fifth company to pull out of the conference after Amazon, LG, Ericsson and US chipmaker Nvidia all said they will not attend.
“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,” Sony said in a statement.
The Japanese conglomerate said its press conference will instead take place via video.
In a statement yesterday event organiser GSMA insisted MWC will still go ahead, stating that despite the withdrawal of large exhibitors more than 2,800 companies will still host stalls.
However, GSMA said that no visitors from the Hubei province — where the coronavirus outbreak started — will be allowed to attend, while visitors from China will have to prove they have been outside the country for at least 14 days prior to the conference.
Conference officials will also carry out temperature screening for all attendees.
Huawei and ZTE, two of China’s largest tech firms, have said they will still attend the event, but plan to sideline employees from their home country.
The death toll from coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation, has now risen to above 900.
The number of UK cases has more than doubled to eight after four more people tested positive for the illness, it was confirmed today, prompting the Department for Health to declare coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat” to public health.