Amazon, the owner of Facebook Meta Platforms and Twitter scrapped plans to attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January amid renewed concerns about the increase in new cases of coronavirus and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Several tech-focused media outlets, including CNET, The Verge, Engadget and TechCrunch, have also said they will not send reporters to cover the show this year.

The withdrawals are a blow to the annual tech showcase, hosted by the Consumer Technology Association. CES, which was still scheduled to take place Jan. 5-8, was set to make a big comeback in 2022 after the pandemic forced it to switch to an online-only format this year.

Due to the increase in the number of Covid cases across the country over the past week, we have decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES next month. We will continue to actively monitor the situation in the new year and find other opportunities to connect with our customers and partners.

Twitter

“Due to the surge in Covid cases across the country over the past week, we have decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES next month. We will continue to actively monitor the situation in the new year and find other opportunities to connect with our customers and partners, ”Twitter said in a statement.

Meta, the world’s largest social media platform formerly known as Facebook, has also said it will not attend CES in person due to evolving public health concerns related to Covid -19, “out of prudence and attention 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 surge in infections, raising concerns about in-person gatherings around the world.

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

The United States remains the country with the highest number of coronavirus cases with more than 10.6 million on Wednesday, supplemented by 181,264 new cases on Tuesday, according to Worldometers data. Earlier this week, Reuters data showed the United States averaged more than 132,000 new cases a day, with federal officials saying Omicron was now the dominant variant accounting for 73% of new infections last week.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce new measures against Covid-19. He is set to issue a “stern warning” about what winter will be like for unvaccinated Americans, NBC reported earlier this week, and urges those who are vaccinated to get vaccinated.

CTA, however, still has no plans to cancel the in-person conference, updating its security protocols, including optional daily testing for Covid-19.

More than 100 government officials are still expected, CTA chairman Gary Shapiro said in a statement on Tuesday, noting the continued enrollment of attendees and companies, according to Bloomberg.

T-Mobile, one of the largest cellular carriers in the United States and sponsor of CES, also said it had made the “difficult decision to drastically limit” its attendance at the event.

“While we are confident that the CES organizers are taking comprehensive measures to protect attendees in person and that we have also implemented many preventative practices, we make the safety of our team and other attendees a priority with this decision, “he said in a statement. on his website, which was echoed by CEO Mike Sievert in a tweet.

Meanwhile, other big names are still planned for now. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone supplier and a key CES attendee, said on Tuesday it was “closely monitoring the current health situation” and may send “a smaller delegation to the scene.”

Its general manager and head of the device experience, JH Han, even detailed on Wednesday what would be discussed during his opening speech at CES speech in an article on the Samsung newsroom.

Out of prudence and concern for our employees, we will not be attending CES in person due to evolving public health issues related to Covid-19

Meta-platforms

Alphabet’s Google and Japan’s Sony are still on the schedule, although they are “monitoring local conditions,” Bloomberg reported. Chipmaker Qualcomm, Taiwan’s HTC and smartphone maker OnePlus are also still on the attendee list.

Apple, which very rarely attends CES, has no plans to attend, although the iPhone maker did attend in 2019 when it took part in a privacy panel.

The first CES was held in New York in 1967. Since then, it has grown into one of the most critical events for the tech industry, attracting tens of thousands of attendees and serving as a platform to present. major new products and innovations, including Microsoft’s VCR, DVD and Xbox game console.

Update: December 22, 2021, 10:34 a.m.