Omicron fears prompt Samsung, LG, Hyundai to consider Plan B for CES

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Omicron fears prompt Samsung, LG, Hyundai to consider Plan B for CES

People arriving from overseas are being guided by quarantine officials at Incheon International Airport, Friday, when the government began imposing strengthened quarantine measures, requiring all international arrivals to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Yonhap

By Baek Byung-yeul

Increasing jitters over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus could prompt Samsung, LG, Hyundai and other companies taking part in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January to change their plans to showcase their technologies at the world’s most influential technology trade show held each year.

The government has strengthened quarantine measures for entrants from abroad to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant and local companies are also reinforcing their in-company quarantine guidelines, such as minimizing overseas business trips.

On Dec. 1, the government said that everyone who arrives in Korea from abroad will be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine for 10 days for the next two weeks starting Friday, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. The government also announced Friday that it will limit private gatherings to six people in the capital area and to eight in other areas, for four weeks starting next week.

Following the announcement, Korean companies that will participate in the world’s largest IT trade show are paying keen attention to what kind of changes will occur in their exhibition schedules.

Hyundai Motor already asked its employees to refrain from making business trips to countries where Omicron variant infections have been confirmed and be active about using non-face-to-face meetings. Samsung and other companies are known to have revised their internal quarantine guidelines following the government’s announcement.

Omicron fears prompt Samsung, LG, Hyundai to consider Plan B for CES

Seen are visitors and event participants at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2020. Yonhap

The CES show will take place in Las Vegas from January 5 to 8, next year. The event has been drawing worldwide attention, as prominent companies are set to showcase their latest technologies, to be featured in the post-pandemic era.

Due to the rapid rise in Omicron variant cases, however, concerns have also increased that the event, which was scheduled to be held both offline and online, may be reduced in scale, like last year when it was held entirely online.

So far, participating companies have said that there are no changes to their plans during the CES event, but they have said they are closely monitoring the situation, as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly around the world.

Regarding these concerns, Karen Chupka, the executive vice president of the CES at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), said that they will do their best to minimize infection risks during the event.

“Over 1700 exhibitors are committed to participate and tens of thousands of attendees have registered to date. CTA announced earlier this year that all CES participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19. To facilitate your entry into CES, we are working with third parties, including CLEAR, to enable attendees to easily?demonstrate proof of vaccination and pick up their CES badges,” the executive said.

“While it is too early to?determine?the impact of this latest variant, we will continue to?monitor?and adjust our plans and health protocols as necessary.?We will also continue to share updates with you,” Chupka added.

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