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Google Cloud Cancels Biggest Annual Conference Over Coronavirus Fears

Google Cloud has cancelled its biggest annual conference over concerns of the coronavirus outbreak spreading in the US – instead the event is now being transferred to being an online conference only.

Google Cloud Next was initially intended to take place in San Francisco from 6 to 8 April and brought in a total of 30,000 attendees last year. This year, however, Google Cloud will instead digitalise its conference through ‘streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital “ask an expert” sessions with Google teams.’

‘The health and well-being of Google Cloud partners, customers, employees and the overall community is our top priority,’ a Google Cloud spokesperson said in a statement.

(The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)

‘Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and other relevant entities, Google Cloud has decided to reimagine Google Cloud Next ’20, which will still take place from April 6-8.’

Participants who registered for the conference will automatically be registered for the digital conference at no charge alongside the refunding of conference tickets to those who wish not to attend the digital event.

It comes after a string of large companies, including Facebook and Nvidia, all cancelled their annual events amid COVID-19 concerns. The potentially fatal virus has been causing disruption to global chains and major tech companies as it continues to spread throughout the globe.

The outbreak has infected up to 90,000 people and killed up to 3,000 – mostly in China. US health officials also warned last week that a COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, outbreak in the US in inevitable. Six people have died in the US resulting from the virus.

A masked woman in a plastic rain coat walks on a street in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. 

Last week, Google confirmed that an employee who was in the company’s Zurich office tested positive for the virus. It also restricted employee travel to Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Major tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon are also taking similar measures by restricting travel and instead asking employees to work remotely.

Other major conferences to cancel annual events due to the coronavirus include the Mobile World Conference and Facebook F8.

Attendees during the 19th edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, northeastern Spain, 25 February 2019. (EPA/Alberto Estevez)

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