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Intel, Cisco, Facebook, Sprint Skipping Mobile Conference Over Coronavirus Fears

Intel, Cisco, Facebook, and Sprint join a list of companies pulling out of the GSMA MWC in Barcelona over fears about the deadly coronavirus.
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Intel (INTC) - Get Free Report, Cisco (CSCO) - Get Free Report, Facebook (FB) - Get Free Report and Sprint (S) - Get Free Report on Tuesday all joined a growing list of companies pulling out of a renowned mobile conference in Barcelona later this month over fears about the deadly coronavirus.

The GSMA MWC, or Mobile World Congress, is scheduled to begin Feb. 24. 

Such notable companies as (AMZN) - Get Free Report, Sony undefined, Ericsson (ERIC) - Get Free Report, and Nvidia (NVDA) - Get Free Report had already scrubbed plans to attend this year's event due to concerns about the virus, which originated in China and has to date killed more than 1,000 people and infected 43,000.

"The safety and well-being of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year's Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution," Intel said in a statement. 

"We are grateful to the GSMA for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future Mobile World Congress events."

A Cisco spokeswoman said that “while we are extremely disappointed that we cannot continue with this event as planned, we believe this is the right decision given the current circumstances.” 

Described as the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, the GSMA MWC saw more than 100,000 attendees last year.

Spanish media have reported that organizers will meet on Friday to decide if they should go forward with the event. 

GSMA, a mobile-industry group that organizes the event, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

But GSMA has taken steps such as banning travelers from the Hubei province, where the disease originated, and those who can't prove they have been out of China for 14 days. And people's body temperatures will be screened.

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi tweeted out Tuesday that it will be attending the tech show, Bloomberg reported. 

The company assured that staff coming from China would adhere to the GSMA's guidelines and the booth would be manned by local European office staff.