World’s biggest mobile annual phone show, Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 has officially been cancelled due to fears of spread of the Novel Coronavirus. The event was scheduled to be held between 24-27 February in Barcelona, Spain.

Event organizer, GSM Association’s (GSMA) decision comes more than a week after heavyweight exhibitors pulled out from the MWC.

In a statement, the GSM Association (GSMA) said that the coronavirus outbreak which has killed over 1,000 people and left thousands infected has made it “impossible” to hold the event.

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event. The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman.

Health officials in China’s Hubei Province reported that 242 more people have died from coronavirus on Wednesday, the figure is reportedly the highest spikes in deaths in a single day more than twice the previous record high.

The number of coronavirus infections cases has exceeded 44,000 with the total number of death count at 1,355.

The GSMA is an industry trade body that represents over 1,200 companies across the mobile industry. Every year the event witnesses thousands of technological advancements, partnerships, deals and hundreds of mobile launches.  Usually MWC is held in Barcelona and has a big economic impact of 492 million euros and also generates over 14,000 part-time jobs.

Earlier, Cisco and Facebook became the latest big tech firms to drop out of the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition.

Both companies joined the growing list of companies – including LG Electronics, Ericsson, Nvidia, Sony, Amazon, Intel, Vivo, and NTT Docomo to not attend the mobile trade show.

(With input from agencies)