Factbox: Coronavirus fears throw major industry events into jeopardy

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© Reuters. Factbox: Coronavirus fears throw major industry events into jeopardy© Reuters. Factbox: Coronavirus fears throw major industry events into jeopardy

(Reuters) – The alarming global spread of the coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has wreaked havoc on businesses and forced organizers to postpone or cancel some major industry events.

Several companies have launched precautionary moves, including travel bans, to avoid the spread of the disease to their employees. Many of them have backed out of conferences and business events.

Here are some major corporate events hit by the spread of the disease, which has claimed over 3,000 lives so far:

** Mobile World Congress, Barcelona: The annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was canceled on Feb. 12 after a mass exodus by exhibitors despite health officials’ assurances at the time that it would have been safe to hold it.

** Also in Barcelona, event organizer Fira decided to postpone the Alimentaria conference, which hosts around 150,000 attendees. The conference is now scheduled for September, compared with the original plan to host it in April.

** Game Developers Conference: Organizers said on Feb. 28 they decided to postpone the event, attended by 29,000 professionals last year, after close consultation with their partners. Microsoft Corp (O:) had announced its withdrawal a day prior to the cancellation.

** Google’s I/O developer conference: Alphabet Inc (O:) on Tuesday canceled its annual developer event and said it would “explore other ways to evolve” the event. The company had earlier moved its annual cloud conference online.

** Facebook Inc’s (O:) F8 conference: The company late last month said it will cancel the annual developer conference and instead organize “a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.” The F8 conference had attracted over 5,000 people last year.

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