Australian urologists have been told their Annual Scientific Meeting due to start tomorrow (7 March) in Sydney has been cancelled due to fears of coronavirus transmission.
The Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) meeting, which was to have hosted 1000 specialists in treating conditions such as prostate cancer was deemed too risky given the recent increase in community transmission of coronavirus.
In a message to delegates, USANZ vice president Dr Stephen Mark said the Board had decided to pull the plug after a last minute meeting based on “the evolution of information, particularly in the last 48 hours, regarding risks to community health, personal risk of healthcare workers, other individuals involved in the meeting and financial risk.
“The safety of every individual was paramount in reaching the decision,” he said.
“While we had strategies in place to mitigate against any potential infections, it was felt that in the interests of the safety of patients and other health workers across Australia and New Zealand at a time when health resources are already stretched, that it was the right decision to err on the side of caution and cancel the meeting.
“Whilst large meetings have not been banned at this point in time, the Board felt healthcare workers have a higher level of responsibility to the community.”
“This has been a difficult decision in a very fluid situation and we recognise it imposes significant inconvenience for all participants, but we determined that while small, the potential risks to the wider community at a time when we are trying to contain the spread of this virus, outweighed the inconveniences.
USANZ said registration fees to delegates will be refunded upon request.
The USANZ decision follows similar decisions to cancel conferences as reported by the limbic this week. It is also understood that some healthcare employers – including WA Health have banned doctors from attending international conferences.