February 10, 2020
TheGSMA knows that the Coronavirus has created disruption, in particular for exhibitors and attendees from around the world, including the 5-6,000 (5-6%) who have historically attended from China. Our sympathy goes to all those affected. We are grateful for the preventative measures our Chinese exhibitors have put in place, notably ZTE and Huawei. Today, the GSMA is moving ahead as planned and will host MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020. While the GSMA confirm some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps, we remain more than 2,800 exhibitors strong.
In addition to all of the health and safety measures put in place, the Spanish health authorities, Host City Partners, other relevant agencies and the GSMA are collaborating. The GSMA is seeking to reassure attendees and exhibitors that their health and safety are our paramount concern, by the following additional measures being put in place:
While further planning is underway, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans according to developments and advice we receive. We are contending with a constantly evolving situation, that will require fast adaptability.
Measures being implemented include:
We understand that in a press conference on Friday 7 February Health Minister Alba Vergés explained that the region of Catalonia is not a public health risk zone. The Health Minister stated “The Catalan health system is prepared to detect and treat coronavirus, to give the most appropriate response, and this must be clear to those attending MWC Barcelona,” said Vergés.
In a similar vein, the Secretary of Public Health, Joan Guix, noted that Catalonia is used to continually welcoming thousands of visitors to the region and reiterated his confidence in the regions readiness and responsiveness. Guix outlined the measures that the Public Health Agency of Catalonia had put in place and that the Spanish Ministry of Health was in constant communication with all relevant bodies. These include the Directorate General of Tourism and Hotels, both public and private health centres, the Chinese consulate and with the GSMA.
Finally, the head of the Service of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Antoni Trilla, emphasised that “we are not in an exceptional situation and our health system is ready”. The press release can be found here: https://govern.cat/salapremsa/notes-premsa/382568/verges-catalonia-is-prepared-to-detect-and-treat-novel-coronavirus
The GSMA strongly urges exhibitors and attendees to implement appropriate guidelines and protocols as suggested by the WHO and other health authorities to contain and mitigate against any further spread of the virus. The health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees and staff are of paramount importance.
Further updates from the GSMA, answers to the most frequently asked questions and an outline of the measures that have been implemented, are on our website and can be found on www.mwcbarcelona.com.
Notes to Editors
*By event we mean that to cover MWC Barcelona, Four Years From Now (4YFN), xside and YoMo
Up-to-date WHO advice can be found here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance and the most recent press release issued by WHO is here:https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov).
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.