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Barcelona's Mobile World Congress canceled, organizer can't guarantee they can halt virus

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 12, 2020
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was canceled today after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
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Bowing to the inevitable, the GSMA telecoms association that hosts the Barcelona get together said it had canceled the event planned for Feb. 24 to 27 despite assurances from local and national health officials that it would have been safe to hold it.

Topics: Mobile World Congress virus

“The GSMA has canceled 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,” John Hoffman, the CEO of organizer GSMA, said in a statement.

The announcement followed a crisis meeting of the GSMA board, after its hand was forced by the pullout of anchor European members.

Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau said earlier she wanted to send a “message of calm”, insisting the city was ready to host the event, while Spanish health officials reiterated that there was no reason to call off MWC.

That failed, however, to alleviate concerns among major exhibitors that the precautions would be insufficient to halt the virus that has spread beyond China’s borders to two dozen countries.