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Covid testing underpins MWC hygiene regime with June event set to go ahead

Paul Lipscombe
February 18, 2021

Half the usual number of visitors expected

Mobile World Congress attendees will have to prove they have had a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of turning up at the venue the GSM Association has confirmed.

Testing will be also be available at the Fira Gran Via venue for the worlds biggest mobile event scheduled to run from June 28 to July 1.

GSM Association CEO John Hoffman expects between 40,000 to 50,000 attendees at the event in Barcelona, compared to 110,000 people at the showpiece event in 2019.

Last year’s MWC event in Barcelona was cancelled a couple of weeks before as the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak spread across the globe.

Different type of event

A “touchless environment” will be implemented for all events and activities at Mobile World Congress.

Other precautions require delegates to wear a face mask at all times and to maintain social distancing of 1.5 meters.

Exhibitors are being instructed to ensure a crowd density of no less than 2.5 square meters per person and exhibitors must observe strict stand capacity and traffic flow requirements.

GSMA chief executive John Hoffman said: “It would be great if the world was vaccinated. But we can’t rely on that in 2021. So instead we’re relying on testing upfront to ensure our bubble isn’t just the Fira Gran Via but the whole of Barcelona. We aren’t naïve. Things will not be like they were before.

“This year will be a different show from previous editions. Naturally, there are some things that are out of our control, such as continuing travel restrictions that will mean fewer visitors than in the past. However, with the benefit of a years’ accumulated knowledge and the extra time to plan, we can mitigate many of the risks to maintain a safe and controlled environment at our venue as well as in the community. And that is what we will do.

“MWC Barcelona has always been a pioneering event that has set the standards for others to follow. It has taken a superhuman effort and years of accumulated trust and goodwill to get us to this position and we look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming weeks.”

The GSMA hosts its first global event since the pandemic next week in China with MWC Shanghai.

This event runs from February 23 to February 25 and is likely to shape how the scheduled Barcelona show is hosted.

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