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Mobile World Congress organisers GSMA have confirmed that Mobile World Congress has been cancelled due to fears surrounding the coronavirus.

The announcement comes the same day as Sony, Amazon and Facebook confirmed they would be withdrawing from exhibiting at the event, which was due to take place in Barcelona, 24-27 February 2020.

A statement from the organisers read: “Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem.

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled 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.

“The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”

The event was expecting to host more than 100,000 delegates and 2,400 businesses.

Jason Megson, VP, managing director of George P. Johnson (GPJ) Experience Marketing told Access: “The cancellation of Mobile World Congress is a disappointing outcome for a significant portion of the European events industry, notwithstanding the more acute impact this will have on the Catalonian economy in the short-term.

“Although we remain cautiously optimistic that governments and health authorities will work tirelessly to bring this epidemic under control, we remain vigilant and are planning for a turbulent start to the 2020 global events calendar. It’s a fast moving and fluid situation that we hope to have a clearer prognosis of in the next couple of weeks, after which we’ll be looking for the health risks to dissipate and a return to our plans for another strong year.”