Catalan president: MWC cancelation due to 'epidemic of fear'
Quim Torra blames media reporting and not coronavirus for why Mobile World Congress was called off
The cancelation this week of Barcelona's Mobile World Congress (MWC) was not due to real concerns over the coronavirus but to an "epidemic of fear" in the media, claimed Catalan president Quim Torra on Friday.
Pointing out that there have been no cases of the covid-19 disease carried by the virus registered in Catalonia, Torra blamed the cancelation of the major international event on "what is today known as infodemia."
Torra went on to argue for adhering to "the strength of scientific argument and responsibility in reporting information that is true, solid and scientifically proven."
Speaking at an event on the Catalan health system attended by World Health Organization (WHO) representatives, Torra also pointed out that the WHO had not called for the MWC to be called off.
Barcelona Opportunity Week announced
Also on Friday, the Barcelona city council and representatives of the city's business sectors announced a new initiative called Barcelona Opportunity Week, aimed at offsetting the fallout from the MWC fair's cancelation.
The initiative aims to avoid "as much as possible" the cancelation of bookings made by people intending to attend the fair, while boosting tourism in the city during the days that the mobile fair was due to take place (February 24 to 27).
During Barcelona Opportunity Week, the council will promote the MWC's complimentary activities, while also offering tourist packages for cultural venues, hotels, and restaurants to give the fair's attendees "incentives to come" to the city.
Opportunity Week came out of a meeting on Friday morning when Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and deputy mayor Jaume Collboni sat down with representatives of the city's business sectors and unions to discuss the impact of the MWC fair's cancelation.