ZTE execs ‘to go into quarantine’ before MWC telecoms event

ZTE execs ‘to go into quarantine’ before MWC in Barcelona

05 February 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Chinese company ZTE will put its senior executives into two weeks’ quarantine in Europe before they appear on the company’s stand at Mobile World Congress (MWC).

The company, based in Shenzhen in southern China, was responding this morning to concerns about coronavirus, the flu-like disease that has already caused the death of around 500 people in China,,.  

“ZTE has adopted a series of strong prevention, control and safeguard measures,” the company said this morning.

All employees will have to undergo “two weeks’ self-isolation” in Europe before turning up at the Barcelona event, which starts on 24 February.

With 109,500 participants in 2019, this year’s MWC Barcelona has been viewed as at being at risk from anti-coronavirus precautions. China has tightened up border controls into Hong Kong, from which many executives fly to Europe, and Hong Kong itself is monitoring the health of people crossing the border.

South Korean company LG Electronics said this morning it would not take part in MWC because of coronavirus worries. However ZTE and its Chinese rival, Huawei, confirmed they will be in Barcelona, though with precautions. But FiberHome, an equipment company based in Wuhan, where the disease started, has not yet announced any decision. 

“ZTE will ensure that all employees from mainland China, including non-Chinese nationals, have no symptoms two weeks before departure and arrival in the MWC,” said the company this morning. “Additional at the current time all employees are required to undergo two weeks self-isolation to ensure the health and safety of all our staff.”

The company has not specified what “self-isolation” means – but it is likely that company staff will arrive in Europe from China this weekend.

ZTE’s rival, Huawei, will also take precautionary measures, an official told Capacity, though without giving details. “It just means that people get there early,” said Capacity’s source in Huawei, which is also based in Shenzhen.

ZTE said it “always puts the health of our employees and customers as priority”. The company added that the “self-isolation” policy extends to “all the senior executives of our company”.

The stand itself will be staffed with non-Chinese people, the company added, “mainly from Europe”.