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Coronavirus: Amazon pulls out of major Barcelona telecoms meet

BERLIN/MADRID:  Amazon has pulled out of this month's Mobile World Congress because of the coronavirus outbreak, in another blow to one of the telecom industry's biggest gatherings which attracts more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona.

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

Amazon had planned a significant presence through its cloud computing arm AWS, which was due to host a full-day conference track on the first day of the event.

The online retailer is the fourth company to pull out of the annual gathering this week, following South Korea's LG Electronics, Swedish equipment-maker Ericsson and US chipmaker Nvidia.

The Feb 24-27 event will go ahead as planned, the GSMA telecoms industry association, which runs the congress, confirmed in a statement on Sunday before Amazon said it was pulling out, adding they would tighten health precautions to guard against the coronavirus outbreak.

No visitors will be allowed to attend from China's Hubei province, where the outbreak started, while visitors from China must prove they have been outside the country for two weeks prior to the event, GSMA said.

Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have said they will attend, ordering China-based staff to self-isolate ahead of the event to ensure they are free of the illness, and drafting in European staff to cover for those stranded. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE