CES organiser unable to confirm Covid-19 cases after 70 South Korean nationals test positive

Asia's Tech News Daily

CES organiser unable to confirm Covid-19 cases after 70 South Korean nationals test positive

The organiser of CES, the world’s largest technology show, said on Thursday it was unable to confirm the number of Covid-19 cases from its in-person event in Las Vegas last week after South Korean authorities said about 70 attendees from the country tested positive for the virus.

The 70 South Korean nationals included representatives from Samsung Electronics and chip maker SK Hynix, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Of the 40,000 that attended CES, 30 per cent travelled from outside the United States.

The show, which took place both online and offline between January 5-7, had gone ahead despite major companies including General Motors and Amazon cancelling their in-person attendance as Omicron cases surged across the globe.

“Results from testing done on-site by medical staff were reported to the local Southern Nevada Health Authorities,” CES organiser Consumer Technology Association said.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

About 20 people from Samsung Electronics and about six at SK Group, parent of energy firm SK Innovation and chipmaker SK Hynix, were among those who tested positive for the virus after attending CES, sources said.

Hyundai Heavy Industries said six of its employees who attended CES tested positive while in the United States and were quarantined, and some have been released since.

Multiple Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis employees who attended CES also tested positive after arriving back in South Korea, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported earlier this week, citing an unidentified industry source without specifying the exact number of cases.

“Many Korean businesspeople who attended CES … are now confirmed to be infected with Covid-19,” Son Young-rae, a senior South Korean health ministry official, told a briefing on Tuesday.

“We are promptly contacting those who participated in the event and conducting epidemiological investigations, but we urge domestic businesspeople or those who are in Korea that attended the event to undergo PCR tests as soon as possible,” he said.

Most of the Samsung officials who tested positive were flown back to Korea from Nevada in two chartered flights, arriving late on Tuesday Seoul time, and the remaining Samsung officials are expected to be flown back on Wednesday, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported, citing unidentified industry sources.

In other news out of CES on Thursday, carmaker Stellantis said Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares, who attended the show, did not contract Covid-19 in Las Vegas.

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