The world is watching the spread of a coronavirus from China, and in the lead-up to one of the year’s biggest tech conferences, the GSMA is announcing measures to combat the virus.

Coronavirus won’t stop MWC 2020 in Barcelona itself, but Chinese telecoms equipment company ZTE is pulling the plug on its press conference.

In a statement today, GSMA confirmed that MWC 2020 will go on as planned later this month despite coronavirus concerns. The yearly tech conference is a big stage for Android manufacturers, and often, where we see many announcements for new smartphones and other products.

At MWC, the GSMA will have an increased cleaning and disinfection program through high-traffic areas as well as boosted onsite medical support. Hygiene stations will also be available, and all attendees will be informed of a “no-handshake policy.” There will also be an awareness campaign through onsite signs as well as online information.

The GSMA continues to monitor and assess the potential impact of the Coronavirus on its MWC 2020 events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai, and Los Angeles and as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences. The GSMA confirms that there is minimal impact on the event thus far. MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020, will proceed as planned, across all venues.

However, the coronavirus has put a stop to ZTE’s press conference at MWC 2020. The company notified the press today, including 9to5Google, that its conference has been canceled. Speaking to the Verge, the company further explained that the conference was canceled due in part to issues with travel and visa delays as well as the mild xenophobia that accompanies this virus. ZTE will still exhibit at the show, however.

Our own Damien Wilde will be at MWC 2020 for our hands-on coverage of the show, and he mentions he’s still open to handshakes, too, if you see him in person.

Hopefully, the coronavirus won’t have a further impact on MWC 2020. That said, the virus’ rapid spread hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and it’s already had other impacts on the smartphone industry. Just this week, ASUS confirmed a shortage of its popular ROG Phone II gaming smartphone as a result of the virus.

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Ben Schoon

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