Amazon, Facebook & more drop out of global tech conference due to coronavirus fears

Several major technology companies have canceled their participation in the Mobile World Congress, a global tech summit which companies such as Amazon and Google have used to showcase their healthcare strategies in years past, the BBC reports.

Facebook and Intel reportedly confirmed they were dropping out of MWC on Feb. 11, joining Amazon, Sony, LG Electronics, Nvidia, McAfee and several other tech giants who previously announced their decisions to skip the conference due to concerns about COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus from China.

MWC is held in Barcelona, with about 6,000 of the 100,000 attendees typically traveling from China. The event's organizers have reportedly asked attendees to follow World Health Organization hygiene recommendations and refrain from shaking hands with one another. They will also be conducting body temperature screening at the event, and have requested that all attendees from China are quarantined for the two weeks leading up to the event.

Though MWC is still scheduled to go on as planned, with 2,800 exhibitors, including Google and Microsoft, still on board, local media outlets report that organizers are meeting this week to discuss whether it should be canceled entirely, per the BBC.

MWC has been the site of several presentations about big tech's moves into healthcare. According to the event's website, at the 2019 event alone, Accenture, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM all showcased their digital health products, services and applications.

More articles on health IT:
Innovation stakes have never been higher, IT leaders agree: Accenture report
How much should health data cost? $100K or more, according to patients
Lyft execs cite healthcare focus as factor in better-than-expected Q4 earnings

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