Charity conferences cancelled over coronavirus

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Cancelled: Diabetes UK event had been planned for Glasgow.

Diabetes UK and the Microbiology Society will not go ahead with planned events in Scotland.

10th March 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Two charities have cancelled conferences in Scotland amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Diabetes UK said it had decided not to go ahead with its DUKPC conference at the Glasgow SEC after “very careful consideration” and a detailed assessment of the risks involved.

All events associated with the conference, which had been due to begin on 18 March, have also been cancelled.

In a statement, the charity said: “Hospitals are currently operating at the highest possible national incident response level, to enable them to be as prepared as possible for the impact of the COVID19 outbreak.

“On that basis, we do not believe it would be right or responsible to proceed with holding the conference when the NHS is in such need of its expert workforce. Equally we are mindful of our responsibility to support efforts to delay the spread of Covid-19 across the UK.”

Science charity the Microbiology Society has also cancelled its planned five-day conference in Edinburgh. More than 1,500 people from 48 countries were expected to attend the event, which had been due to begin on 30 March.

The charity said: “Due to the continued spread of Sars-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19, the council of the Microbiology Society, as trustees of the society, have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s annual conference.

“This has been an incredibly hard decision – our meeting programme is at the very heart of what we do to develop, expand and strengthen the networks available to our members so that they can generate new knowledge about microbes and ensure that it is shared with other communities.

“However, after carefully considering all the facts and scientific evidence available, we have decided the best option available to us is to limit travel.”

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is advising charities to continue to follow official advice regarding the outbreak, now in its fourth month.

Anna Fowlie, SCVO chief executive, said: “Following the confirmation of cases of Covid-19 in Scotland, we are urging our members and the wider voluntary sector in Scotland to take care of the health of their staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. 

“Currently the advice is for most people to continue to go to work, school and other public places as normal which means there is no reason to cancel large charity events at this point, although we are advising organisations planning events to keep these under review, should the situation change at short notice.”

The cancellations follow the decision of the People's Postcode Lottery to postpone its charity gala in Edinburgh.