Cancel MWC 2020 for coronavirus or proceed with the work of the most important fair in the world for smartphones and mobile technologies? The very difficult decision will be made by GSMA on Friday 14 February. The association that represents the interests of mobile operators from all over the planet does not confirm or deny, but some of the main Spanish newspapers, heard sources close to the Barcelona Fair, have no doubts.
This would be an ordinary board meeting scheduled for months, but it is impossible that the long list of companies that have already canceled their participation in the event and the fears of a possible epidemic even outside China will not end on the discussion table.
Important companies have already announced their complete withdrawal: Intel, Vivo, NTT Docomo, Umidigi, Amdocs, Gigaset, LG, Ericsson, Nvidia and Amazon. Instead others, such as ZTE, TCL and others have decided to cancel events and press presentations, but also attending the fair with their own stand, reduced staff and intensified security measures, as well as Xiaomi.
MWC 2019 surpassed all previous editions records with 109,000 visitors from 198 countries, of which 7,900 were executive directors. For this year's edition, a flow of 110,000 participants and a total economic impact of 492 million euros was already expected, numbers that due to the coronavirus and the defections already received can no longer be obtained.
With the daily arrival of the defections, GSMA has released a series of press releases announcing increasingly intense and severe measures of disinfection and prevention, up to the obligation of quarantine for those coming from China and the absolute ban on entry to the fair for those coming from Hubei province where the outbreak started. But the forced shifts of disinfection of handles and microphones, of the catering area, the ban on shaking hands and even the idea of wearing a mask from morning to night for all fair days, have not convinced companies and managers, given the growing number of withdrawals and cancellations of meetings and events.
Canceling MWC 2020 not only means volatilizing millions and millions of dollars for exhibition spaces, but also canceling thousands of hotel reservations, airline tickets and a huge supply chain that, every year for a week, monopolizes the whole life, public transport, structures throughout Barcelona.
Statistics in hand is believed that for contagion and coronavirus deaths is not more serious than a common flu, indeed, perhaps at the moment even less. But the experts of infectious diseases do not seem to have doubts: canceling MWC 2020 not only advisable but mandatory for safety reasons, first of all in Barcelona and its inhabitants.
This is the opinion of Oriol Mitj reported by la Vanguardia A single introduction would have a 20-30% chance of causing an outbreak. Still The transmission high and difficult to control. With only three infections there is a 50% chance of an outbreak. Lesperto notes that confined and crowded environments such as a fair are ideal for the transmission of the respiratory virus and, once a case has emerged, it is almost impossible to obtain control through contacts.
The researcher finds it unlikely that detection at airports using thermal scanners could prevent the passage of infected travelers. If the decision to cancel MWC 2020 or not will be determined mainly for economic or health reasons, the expert notes that canceling the exhibition or postponing it will cost less than a potential epidemic, for this reason it declares that GSMA and the city of Barcelona should ask expert advice and making an evidence-based decision.
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