Mobile World Congress 2020 has been called off entirely, after several high-profile companies cancelled their plans to attend over fears attendees could catch the coronavirus recently dubbed by the World Health Organisation as Covid-19.

Sony, Facebook, Intel and Amazon all decided to withdraw from the event in Barcelona, which was due to take place between February 24 and 27, because of the risk. MWC is the world’s largest mobile technology trade show, where the biggest names in the industry converge to launch their latest products and innovations, attracting over 100,000 attendees from across the globe each year.

Mobile World Congress is the world’s biggest phone technology trade show, usually attracting more than 100,000 attendees.Credit:Bloomberg

“Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation on January 30, 2020,” Sony said in a statement posted to its website. “As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”

While earlier this week event organiser and mobile operator lobbying group GSMA said it planned to go ahead with the event as planned, on Thursday morning it sent a statement to several media outlets confirming it would be cancelled.

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