The GSMA outlined extensive plans to counter concerns and mitigate risk of the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak at MWC Barcelona, describing the impact thus far as “minimal” and pointing to a wide range of measures in place to protect attendees during the high-profile event.

Its comments come as vendor ZTE rubbished media reports claiming it had dropped out.

In a statement, the GSMA said a wide range of hygiene measures would be provided across the Fira Gran Via, Fira Montjuic and La Farga L’Hospitalet venues designed to help protect the health of attendees.

It added: “The GSMA is building on its existing plans to protect the health of our attendees, clients and staff at MWC Barcelona. GSMA colleagues around the world are taking strong measures to contain and lessen any further spread of the virus.”

“These measures include adhering to advice from the World Health Organisation and other health authorities, respecting travel restrictions where they exist, arriving early in Spain to allow time for self-quarantine and ensuring access to masks.”

Last month, the organisation announced thorough cleaning and disinfection programmes would be in place across the Barcelona venues with a specific focus on “high-volume touchpoints”. Health information and medical points would also be prevalent at all sites.

This week, the GSMA confirmed there would be a further increase in signage reminding people of hygiene recommendations, microphone change protocols in place for speakers and regular communication programmes to attendees recommending a no-handshake policy.

On board
While the vast majority of exhibitors are pressing-on with ambitious plans for the event, a number of media outlets yesterday (4 February) reported ZTE had cancelled its attendance.

However, in a statement the vendor confirmed only its press conference would not take place and reiterated its commitment to “demonstrating its outstanding achievements in 5G innovations and end-to-end 5G solutions” at the event.

It added: “A wide variety of new 5G devices will be demonstrated at the ZTE booth during MWC 2020 as planned.”

While the event still has the overwhelming support of the majority of the industry, South Korean vendor LG Electronics announced it had cancelled its plans to exhibit in 2020.