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Amazon pulls out of Barcelona show over coronavirus fears

Amazon is the latest technology company to completely pull out of attending this month’s Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona because of the coronavirus outbreak.

MWC normally attracts more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona with up to 6,000 of them arriving from China, where the outbreak began and has killed 908 people to date.

In a statement on Sunday, Amazon said: “Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020.”

Josh Skarratts
Briton blocked from boarding flight in Wuhan

Amazon’s cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) was scheduled to to host a full-day conference track on the first day of the event on 24 February.

The announcement followed similar decisions from companies including the Swedish firm Ericsson, typically one of the biggest exhibitors at the event, American computer processor firm Nvidia and the Korean company LG.

GSMA, the global telecoms industry association behind MWC, confirmed in a statement that “some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps”.

“We are grateful for the preventative measures our Chinese exhibitors have put in place, notably ZTE and Huawei,” GSMA added.

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GSMA stated in addition to the Spanish authorities’ measures it was banning all travellers from the Hubei province from entering the event, while any visitors who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof that they have been outside of China for a fortnight prior to the event.

Attendees will also be temperature screened and will need to self-certify that they have not been in contact with anyone infected with coronavirus.

In the UK the spread of coronavirus has been described as a “serious and imminent threat” to the public.

The announcement gives the government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus, which originated in a market in Wuhan, China and has been confirmed in eight people in the UK.

A Department of Health statement said: “The Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.

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Children tested for coronavirus in French Alpine village

The latest coronavirus outbreak updates:

  • The global number of deaths is 910, with 908 in China, including an American and a Japanese person
  • British citizens flown on a second evacuation flight from Wuhan on Sunday are being quarantined at Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes
  • In the UK 795 people have been tested for coronavirus, with eight positive
  • A British man infected in Singapore could be a “superspreader” as he is linked to at least seven confirmed cases in England, France and Spain
  • A British family of four is being tested in Majorca after coming into contact with the man in France
  • A total of 97 people died of coronavirus in China on Sunday – the largest in a single day since the outbreak was detected in mid-December, denting optimism the death control measures are fighting the outbreak
  • On Sunday, 3,062 new virus cases were reported in China – a 15% increase from the day before, bringing the total to 40,171, including 27 foreigners
  • More than 360 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, with two deaths
  • The total number of deaths exceeds the 774 killed by the 2002/3 SARS outbreak
  • Confirmed cases of the new virus vastly exceed the 8,098 infected by SARS

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