Huawei postpones its developer conference over coronavirus fears
Companies in China are taking extra precautionsBy Rob Thubron
What just happened? Huawei has postponed its annual developer conference in China as a precaution against the coronavirus. The event was due to take place in Shenzhen, 600 miles south of Wuhan---the center of the outbreak---on February 11th and 12th, but the company has postponed it until March 27th-28th.
"Based on the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic situation of the new coronavirus infection, we attach great importance to the health and safety of all the participants," reads a message on the conference website. HDC.Cloud 2020 is described as the "flagship event for developers worldwide in the ICT (information and communications) field."
Reuters reports that many companies across China are taking precautions against the virus, which has infected over 570 people and killed 17. Firms are handing out masks and telling employees to avoid Wuhan.
Huawei has asked staff not to visit Wuhan and avoid contact with animals. The company has set up an outbreak prevention and control team in the city to carry out disinfecting activities, according to an internal note.
Foxconn is also warning workers to be careful. Founder Terry Gou advised Taiwan-based employees not to visit mainland China during the week-long Lunar New Year holidays.
"Colleagues and their families who have come back from Wuhan are all in isolation at home. The infection is spreading very fast," Gou added.
City officials in Wuhan, which is home to 11 million people, today announced that it is shutting down transportation within the city, closing all airports and train stations to try and contain the spread of the virus. And residents in Huanggang, 45 miles away, have been told they can only leave the city under special circumstances.
**MAJOR BREAKING**: Wuhan, ground zero for the China #coronavirus, to be on public transport lockdown as of Thursday 10am, reports @ChinaDaily. All flights and trains from Wuhan to be cancelled. Our @CBSNews team JUST got out late this evening. @CBSThisMorning @CBSEveningNews https://t.co/iz4Eo972Uh--- Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) 22 January 2020
"To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science," Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization's representative in China, told The Associated Press in an interview at the WHO's Beijing office. "It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work."
Main image credit: graphbottles via Shutterstock