March 10, 2020 — Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has claimed another large cardiology meeting, the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) has cancelled its 2020 scientific congress scheduled March 29-31 in Vienna, Austria.
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and EHRA leadership have been closely following the recent developments around COVID-19. With severe measures being taken by hospitals to deal with the epidemic, a rapidly growing number of congress faculty had to cancel travel plans to the conference because they are unable to travel. Many hospitals are imposing travel restrictions on their staffs to ensure they are available in case of local COVID-19 outbreaks and the hospitals needing to implement emergency plans.
"It is clear that severe measures must be prepared, and that physicians and hospitals need to ready themselves to deal with the epidemic," said EHRA President Hein Heidbuchel, M.D., Ph.D., University of Antwerp. "As a result, over the past few days, more than a third of our congress faculty have had to cancel their participation – a number which continues to rise. We have discussed the situation with our partners who share the opinion that, under the current circumstances, cancelling EHRA 2020 is the only responsible course of action."
The ESC is now considering whether to reschedule at least some of the event for a later date or deliver some of the planned content via online platforms, such as webinars
EHRA is also working out refunds of registration fees.
"At EHRA, our focus now is to allow you and your hospital to fight this epidemic. We wish you all the best in these uncertain times and look forward to seeing you in the future," Heidbuchel said.
The cancellation follows on the heels of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) cancelling its large meeting this week. ACC cancelled for the same reason, because many doctors are under hospital imposed travel bans and would not be able to attend the conference. Some vendors also started to pull out of the exhibit hall prior to the cancellation Monday. Read the article ACC Cancels 2020 Conference Amid Coronavirus Concerns.
The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) also cancelled its meeting March 4 in Seattle because of the City of Seattle and King County Public Health Department issued new public health recommendations to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Among these recommendations was a request to organizers of large public gatherings to avoid bringing large groups of people together and consider postponing events and gatherings. Read the article SIR 2020 Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Outbreak in Seattle.
Last week, the large Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual meeting was cancelled just days before it was supposed to open in Orlando Florida. The decision was made in part because dozens of vendors, including several anchor vendors, started to pull out of the conference. Attendees also started cancelling in large numbers as their hospitals began implementing travel restrictions.
Read the article COVID-19 Cancels HIMSS Health IT Conference
COVID-19 fears also led to the European Society of Radiology announcing it is postponing its European Congress of Radiology (ECR) annual meeting that was supposed to take placed March 11-15 in Vienna, Austria. The ESC sponsored Acute Cardiovascular Care 2020 conference in Athens, Greece, was also cancelled. Numerous smaller and regional cardiology meetings are also being cancalled.
Related COVID-19 Content: