Facebook will no longer hold its global marketing summit in San Francisco next month, the company announced Friday, in what many are calling the Bay area’s first reported cancelation attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we cancelled our global marketing summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a press statement.
More than 4,000 participants were expected to attend the event, Reuters reported. It had originally been scheduled for March 9 to March 12 at the city’s Moscone Centre.
Earlier this week, Facebook was one of a slew of tech giants to withdraw from this year’s Mobile World Congress over similar health concerns before the conference’s organiser, GSMA, finally pulled the plug on the Barcelona event.
So far, COVID-19—the World Health Organisation’s official name for the coronavirus illness traced back to Wuhan, China—has killed more than 1,500 people worldwide, surpassing the total number of deaths from SARS. While the disease is less lethal than SARS, it remains highly transmissible—particularly through human-to-human contact—a fact that has much of Silicon Valley on edge regardless of assurances from public officials that they have the virus contained.
Google has also taken precautions in the Bay area amid the outbreak. According to a Recode report, the company’s placed signs in at least two of its offices near bathrooms with tips for employees to avoid spreading germs and a link to an internal site where they can learn more about the coronavirus.
Further south, San Diego County declared a public health emergency Friday as a local military base began screening American evacuees from Wuhan, according to an NBC report. To date, there have been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, along with another seven in the U.S.