COVID-19 impacts respiratory conferences

Public health

By Mardi Chapman

10 Mar 2020

Some respiratory societies are adopting a watch-and-wait approach to the impact of coronavirus on their annual conferences while others have had to change long-held plans.

Currently, TSANZSRS is still scheduled to go ahead in Melbourne at the end of this month – not surprisingly, with coronavirus updates on the program.

“We have reviewed the current Government advice and it remains unchanged at business as usual and no need to cancel major events,” a TSANZ statement on 5 March said

Delegates and members have been issued advice on COVID-19 including that the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre was increasing sanitation measures and hand sanitisers will be available at the venue.

But there will inevitably be people who won’t be able to attend due to travel restrictions.

“For delegates who feel that they are unable to attend the meeting, we are currently working on a digital solution that will enable participation in the entire ASM remotely (the current digital registration has limited access). We are finalising these arrangements and will provide further information as soon as possible.”

Elsewhere in Australia, the 15th Meeting of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group due to be held in Brisbane later this month has been postponed to March 2021.

Overseas, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) is still hopeful its plans for the International Conference in May will be realised.

A statement on the ATS website dated March 6 said no organisations in the city of Philadelphia have yet cancelled or postponed conferences.

Sadly the situation is evolving rapidly and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) announced on March 8 that it will cancel its 2020 Annual Meeting scheduled for March 13-16 in Philadelphia.

“While an incredible amount of work went into planning this year’s educational program, and all of our speakers and abstract authors have put immense time and energy into their presentations and posters, it has reached a point with COVID-19 where the AAAAI felt it was absolutely necessary to cancel the Annual Meeting in order to protect the health and safety of attendees,” it said.

The limbic is unaware of any update on the situation for the ERS Congress 2020 scheduled for Vienna in early September.

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