Thursday, 20 January, 2022

Amazon, Meta, Twitter pull out of CES over Omicron fears

Amazon, Meta, Twitter pull out of CES over Omicron fears

NEW YORK: Amazon, Facebook owner Meta Platforms and Twitter have scrapped plans to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January amid renewed concerns about the rise of new coronavirus cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Several technology-focused outlets, including CNET, The Verge, Engadget and TechCrunch, also said they will not be sending reporters to cover the show this year, report agencies.

The withdrawals deal a blow to the annual technology showcase, which is organised by the Consumer Technology Association. The CES, still scheduled to take place from January 5-8, was set to make a big return in 2022 after the pandemic forced it to shift to an online-only format this year.

“Due to the spike in Covid cases across the country in the past week, we’ve decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES next month. We’ll continue to actively monitor the situation into the new year and find other opportunities to connect with our clients and partners,” Twitter said in a statement.

Meta, the world’s biggest social media platform, formerly known as Facebook, also said it won’t be attending CES in person due to the evolving public health concerns related to Covid-19, “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees”.

The emergence of the Omicron variant, which is said to be less deadly but far more contagious than the Delta strain of Covid-19, has caused a sharp spike in infections, sparking concerns about in-person gatherings around the world.

On Monday, the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, which was scheduled to be held from January 17-21 as an in-person event in Davos, was postponed because of the outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The US remains the country with the most number of coronavirus cases with over 10.6 million as of Wednesday, padded by 181,264 new cases on Tuesday, according to Worldometers data. Earlier this week, Reuters data showed that the US was averaging more than 132,000 new cases daily, with federal officials saying that Omicron now the dominant variant accounting for 73 per cent of new infections last week.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce new measures against Covid-19. He is set to deliver a “stark warning” of what the winter will look like for unvaccinated Americans, NBC reported earlier this week, and urge those who are vaccinated to get a booster shot.