A rapidly growing number of companies have announced that they will be dropping out of this year's Mobile World Congress due to fears of the coronavirus outbreak that has rapidly spread across China and many countries around the world. Following ZTE, LG, Ericsson, Nvidia, and more, Sony and TCL have now announced some changes to their plans as well.
Sony, for its part, is backing out of the event altogether, the company has announced. While its presence at the show floor can't exactly be replaced, the company will sill be holding a press conference, but it will be live-streamed on the company's Xperia YouTube channel instead. It will air at 8:30AM Central Europe Time on February 24.
Meanwhile, TCL, which makes Alcatel-branded smartphones as well as its own TCL-branded phones, has canceled the press conference it planned to host on February 22 ahead of MWC. Among other potential announcements, TCL would have officially launched the TCL 10 lineup at the event, after it first revealed them at this year's CES. The company will still be on the show floor at MWC, though, so not all is lost. In its e-mail to the press, TCL acknowledged measures by the GSMA, the MWC organizer, to protect the event's attendees.
Yesterday, the GSMA reaffirmed its intentions to move on with the event and revealed some of the protective measures in place. Participants from the Hubei province of China will not be allowed to enter the event, and anyone who has been in China will need to prove they have been outside of China for 14 days prior to the event. Additionally, temperature screening will be put in place.
The GSMA is also implementing additional measures to protect those that do get into the event. It has doubled the medical support teams at the event compared to last year, and it will be increasing its efforts to keep the facilities clean and disinfected. Additionally, sanitizing and disinfection materials will be available for public use at the event, and the organization will encourage exhibitors to also be more careful in keeping their booths safe.
Finally, the organization points out that, last week, the Health Minister of the Catalonian Government, Alba Vergés, said that the region is ready to detect and treat coronavirus infections. Other members of the Catalonian Government have reiterated that belief.