As death toll continues to rise in China (official stats reached 900+ at the time of writing) from the epidemic that coronavirus has caused, the business impact of the outbreak is also beginning to expand. After multiple phone makers and other companies pulled out of MWC Barcelona, Sony is now joining that list.

In a press release from the company, Sony said, “As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”

Instead, the Sony press conference will now ]take place at the scheduled time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24, 2020 as a video via the official Xperia YouTube channel. Goes without saying, that we will ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest launches through our breaking coverage.

Sony will join the likes of Amazon, Ericsson, LG, NVIDIA and ZTE, who have already announced a pull-put from the mega mobile showdown. MWC is the largest such gathering of the mobile industry, with the event witnessing a footfall of over 110,000 last year itself. However, with some of the biggest names pulling out, this could have serious impact on the footfall that the event gets. And since companies have pulled out due to the coronavirus outbreak, this could even worsen the situation.

Organisers however, have repeatedly assured of stringent measures in place to avoid any mishap. GSMA, which organises the annual mobile showdown, also announced stringent rules to try to safeguard attendee. This includes a blanket ban on travellers from Hubei and a requirement that all travellers who have been in China must be able to prove they have been outside the country 14 days prior to the event.

Additionally, all attendees will be required to self-certify that they have not been in contact with anyone affected.

It remains to be seen as to what effect will these pull-outs actually have, but they are sure to act as a break, to an event that has generally seen massive footfalls.