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Coronavirus concern cancels major tech tradeshow

Feb. 21, 2020
by Mark Ollig

“Limitless Intelligent Community” was the theme for this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) annual tradeshow event in Barcelona, Spain.

MWC, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24 through Thursday, Feb. 27, was to be the 15th year Barcelona hosted the event.

However, with the 30 largest telecom and other tech companies withdrawing their participation in this year’s MWC due to fears about the coronavirus, the annual tradeshow has been canceled.

A statement on the MWC webpage confirmed the cancelation of the 2020 Barcelona Mobile World Congress, “because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern, and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA (organizer for the MWC) to hold the event.”

In 2019, more than 107,000 people from 205 countries attended the MWC. More than 2,400 mobile communication exhibits were on display.

This year, 110,000 people were expected to attend.

The MWC includes many mobile networking and other wireless technology exhibitions, and accommodates numerous conferences with many of the world’s most influential technical speakers participating in panel discussions.

This year’s event provided 394,000 square feet of exhibition space – 16,400 feet more than last year.

The loss of revenue to Barcelona, usually generated by the MWC event, will be substantial.

In 2019, $537.5 million was spent on hotel reservations, restaurants, taxis, bars, and apartment reservations in Barcelona during the MWC event.

More than 27,000 hotel rooms were block-booked by the organizers of MWC in 2019.

Barcelona has played host city to the MWC since 2006, and will continue to host until 2023.

To offset some of the revenue losses from the cancelation of the MWC 2020, the Barcelona city council and local businesses announced an initiative called Barcelona Opportunity Week.

This initiative will promote Barcelona’s free events, while also offering tourist packages for cultural venues, hotels, and restaurants to provide registered 2020 MWC attendees “incentives to come” to the city.

As of Feb. 19, there have been two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Spain, and no related deaths.

Since the schools are currently closed in mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak, teachers are using technology to reach homebound students by providing online classes.

In one video I saw on China’s People’s Daily website, a teacher at home is using a video live-streaming app on their smartphone to teach a class online.

The teacher’s smartphone hangs above a computing tablet used for the class.

A homemade “attachment device” suspends the teacher’s smartphone about 6 inches above the tablet.

The teacher is using a stylus pen to write on the computing tablet.

From their homes or quiet outdoor locations with network access, teachers are using their smartphone’s video recorders, laptops, and computing tablets to provide students with daily class lessons.

A student at home watches the daily lessons the teacher is broadcasting, using a video live-streaming app on their smartphone or computer.

Chinese teachers have begun calling themselves “network anchors,” as they are presenting their online classes like a television news program.

Feb. 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the disease, coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

China reported the first death from the coronavirus Jan. 11.

Jan. 30, the WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said COID-19 continues to increase its presence worldwide.

CDC also acknowledges the risk is high; the disease may spread further.

The WHO said they need to be “extremely cautious” about calling the coronavirus a pandemic, or “worst-case scenario.”

The real issue, they said, is whether there are appearances of community transmission outside of China; at present, they are not observing this.

WHO reports, “The scientific community has managed to isolate it, sequence it, identify it, and develop a diagnostic test.”

WHO states current coronavirus cases reported in other parts of the world still have a direct link to China.

Their main objective “is to contain the virus, not the people.”

Currently, there are no vaccines for the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization website has detailed information, including how the disease spreads, and protections a person can take.

Daily audio situation reports and press briefings by the World Health Organization doctors and professionals regarding the coronavirus disease are here: https://bit.ly/2P5pYCv.

The World Health Organization website page dedicated to news and information about the coronavirus is at https://bit.ly/2UYXmyJ.

The latest information on the coronavirus from the CDC is at https://bit.ly/2Hw227c.


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