AMD, P&G, Microsoft, Google join others in opting out of CES event on Omicron fears

Attendees on opening day of the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada in this file photo taken on Jan 07, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) - Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), computer hardware firm Micro-Star International (MSI) and consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble are the latest companies to withdraw from attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in person next month as Omicron cases surge.

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant has forced individuals and companies across the United States to rethink their travels plans as they look to lessen the risk of contracting the virus.

Airlines such as Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group have cancelled hundreds of flights, while the surge in new infections has also threatened to derail a recovery in the cruise industry.

CES, which serves as an annual showcase of new trends and gadgets in the technology industry, is expected to have more than 2,200 in-person exhibitors this year at Las Vegas.

The event, starting Jan 5, will require all attendees to be masked and vaccinated, and also offer Covid-19 tests, a spokesman for Consumer Technology Association, the event organiser, said.

"Our in-person engagements will now transition to virtual in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, partners, and communities," an spokesman for chip designer AMD said on Tuesday (Dec 28).

Several others, including US automaker General Motors, Alphabet's Google, Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Twitter, Lenovo Group, AT&T and have dropped their in-person attendance plans, saying they would not send employees out of caution over the spread of Omicron.

US software giant Microsoft said on Friday (Dec 24) it will not participate in person CES and added that it will continue to participate at CES remotely, according to an e-mailed statement.

The average number of new Covid-19 cases in the US has risen 55 per cent to over 205,000 per day over the last seven days, according to a Reuters tally.

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