Intel becomes latest firm to pull out of Mobile World Congress over coronavirus

Intel has become the latest high-profile technology company to withdraw from forthcoming trade show Mobile World Congress (MWC) over concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The firm follows the likes of LG, Amazon, Sony, Ericsson and Nvidia in withdrawing from the Barcelona trade show, due to take place at the end of the month.

Organiser the GSMA has insisted the MWC will go ahead as planned and introduced strict new safety measures – including banning attendees from the Chinese province where the outbreak is believed to have originated – but many companies are opting to reduce their presence or skip the show entirely.

In a statement, Intel said: “The safety and well-being of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year’s Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution.

“We are grateful to the GSMA for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future Mobile World Congress events.”

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China has now passed 1,000 people, health authorities announced on Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the GSMA confirmed it was continuing preparations for the convention, which traditionally attracts more than 100,000 visitors, including around 6,000 from China.

As part of the enhanced safety measures, the organisers confirmed that MWC attendees who have recently been to China will be asked to confirm that they have been outside the country for 14 days prior to the show.

Organisers have also confirmed that temperature screening will be in place and it is encouraging those attending to adopt a “no-handshake” policy.

Several other high-profile companies due to appear at MWC remain committed to the event.

Chinese tech giant Huawei has said it is still planning to attend, while Samsung has not publicly commented on any plans to reduce its presence at the trade show or withdraw altogether.

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