Mobile World Congress: ZTE Cancels Press Conference, LG Pulls out Amid Coronavirus Frenzy

The organization that runs the MWC has issued a statement with the extra procedures they've put in place due to the virus.
Fabienne Lang

If you were hoping to find out what new mobile technology LG was going to put on display at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this year, you'll have to wait another year. 

Furthermore, Chinese phone manufacturer and telecom giant, ZTE, have canceled their press conference at the congress, adding another blow to the world's largest mobile trade show.

The reason behind these last-minute changes? The coronavirus.


The coronavirus spreading in many ways

The MWC will be just a little smaller this year over fears of secondary effects of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Part of the reason for ZTE's press conference cancelation was for non-coronavirus-related issues, such as delayed visas and travel meaning some of the team's members weren't going to make it on time for the start of the congress on February 25.

However, the main reason falls onto the shoulders of the Wuhan virus.

The company stated that "[We] tend to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable." 

LG, on the other hand, decided to completely pully out of the congress.

"This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders," LG announced in a news release on Tuesday.

They won't be leaving their customers or fans high and dry though: "In lieu of its participation in MWC, LG will be holding separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products."

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Each year, mobile companies from around the world assemble in Barcelona for the annual MWC to showcase their newest models, innovations, and designs. 

The organization that runs the MWC, GSMA, issued a statement on its website that the "show will proceed as planned." However, they have decided to add a few more safety measures and precautions in place this year:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection program across all high-volume touchpoints, e.g. catering areas, surfaces, handrails, WCs, entrances/exits, public touch-screens, etc. along with the use of correct cleaning/sanitizing materials and products
  • Increased onsite medical support
  • Awareness campaign via online and onsite info-share and signage
  • Availability of sanitizing and disinfection materials for public use
  • Awareness and training to all staff and associates on standard personal preventative measures, e.g. personal hygiene, frequency of use of sanitizing/disinfection products, etc.
  • Advice to exhibitors on implementing effective cleaning and disinfection of stands, offices along with guidance on personal hygiene measures and common preventive behavior
  • Public health guidelines and advice communication to Barcelona hotels, public and private transport, restaurants and catering outlets, retail, etc.

The coronavirus has already taken over 400 lives and infected more than 20,000 people across 23 countries. The numbers keep increasing, so it's not entirely surprising that some companies are being extra cautious with their personnel, and the people around them. 

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