Coronavirus Shuts Down ZTE Press Conference For MWC 2020

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Chinese Android OEM ZTE is canceling its MWC 2020 press conference due to the coronavirus outbreak.

ZTE cancels MWC 2020 press conference due to coronavirus outbreak

According to a statement by ZTE, the company will have a booth at MWC. And yet, the company says it's taking preventive measures. First, the company says that it will vet employees and executives at least two weeks before traveling. An additional 2 weeks of isolation are mandatory before travel.

Next, ZTE says that it will disinfect its booth and equipment on a daily basis. Last but not least, the company will bring staff to MWC that are "from countries outside China." Seeing that China is the origin country of the coronavirus outbreak, it makes sense to keep Chinese citizens away from its tech booth.

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Why ZTE is taking preventive coronavirus measures

The coronavirus is a terrible sickness, and that alone makes ZTE's measures reasonable. ZTE says that it doesn't want to make attendees uncomfortable. The fear factor is a good reason to avoid a press conference. After all, the last thing a company like ZTE wants is to spread coronavirus to press attendees. Some infected media members could pass coronavirus to other media members. And if the media could trace a press coronavirus outbreak to ZTE, that only stands to make things worse. The company could find itself barred from other tech events later this year.

Alongside fear, there is the touch factor. Attendees at MWC 2020 will touch the devices. Touch interaction is a large part of the mobile device experience (not everything is hands-free yet, anyway). If someone infected with coronavirus sneezes on a touchscreen, all those who follow after and touch the device could contract coronavirus.

ZTE already under scrutiny with Federal Government

ZTE's coronavirus outbreak prevention strategy is just another move the company is making to get itself out of political hot water. The Android OEM, like Huawei, finds itself as a target in the political war between the US and China. Though Huawei faces a national ban in the US due to its espionage efforts on behalf of Beijing, both Huawei and ZTE are considered threats to national security.

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Just this week, both Huawei and ZTE pleaded with the Federal Government to withhold the national risk label when it comes to telecom gear. The US is looking to subsidize telecom gear expenses to encourage smaller carriers to upgrade their Huawei and ZTE gear to other vendors. The fear behind Chinese telecom equipment is that it is a spy tool for the Chinese Government.

The coronavirus outbreak started last month in Wuhan, China and has since spread to other parts of China and even the US. Android OEM LG Electronics says it isn't attending MWC 2020. Neither is Huawei.