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Swedish technology company Ericsson has announced that it won't be attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, due to be held in Barcelona from February 24th to 27th, as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus. The firm considers it cannot guarantee the safety of employees and visitors. The company thus becomes the second major international company that has decided to withdraw from the MWC 2020, following the announcement by Korean manufacturer LG Electronics on Tuesday that it would stay away from this year's edition as a precautionary measure in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Ericsson has said that following the outbreak and the continuing spread of the virus, it has followed developments closely and adhered to the recommendations of relevant national authorities and international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

Precautionary measures

In this context, the Swedish company stresses that it has already taken precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and to minimize the impact that coronavirus could have on its operations.

"After a thorough internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the most important event in the telecommunications industry," it has announced.

The company made clear its understanding that the organizers of the Barcelona event had done "everything in their power" to control the risk. However, said the statement, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson had thousands of visitors at its stand every day and, despite the low risk, it could not "guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors."

"The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders is our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were eager to showcase our latest innovations at the MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe that the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year's event," said Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm.

Having taken this decision, the Swedish manufacturer says that to showcase its product portfolio and latest innovations, it will ensure that the product demonstrations and content it has created for MWC Barcelona will be shown to customers in their national markets, with local events called 'Ericsson Unboxed'.