The scientific congress of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA 2020) and the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC) have both been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
EHRA 2020 was scheduled for 29–31 March in Vienna, Austria, and ACC.20/WCC for March 28–30 in Chicago, USA. Both societies indicated that travel restrictions on physicians informed their decision.
A statement from the ESC and EHRA leadership says they have been closely following the recent developments around COVID-19, and that “cancelling EHRA 2020 was deemed the only responsible course of action,” given the “severe measures being taken by hospitals to deal with the epidemic”.
The ESC is considering whether to reschedule at least some of EHRA 2020 for a later date, or to deliver some of the planned content via online platforms.
In a press release, the ACC describes its decision as “difficult and unprecedented”, saying it has been taken following close monitoring of updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local governments.
“The health, safety and well-being of our members, staff, exhibitors, faculty and other stakeholders is of paramount importance,” says ACC President Richard J Kovacs in the statement. “With an ever-increasing number of ACC members on the frontlines of preparing and reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is in the best interest of everyone to cancel the meeting and ensure our members are able to do what they do best – help and heal.”
The ACC has indicated that virtual options for science and award presentations will be announced in coming days, and that it has prepared an initial FAQ document to help with answering travel, refund and other questions for attendees. This document will continue to be updated. An updated clinical bulletin on COVID-19 preparedness is also now available.
The ACC acknowledged the work of individuals and institutions that contributed to the meeting’s organisation, including member volunteers and staff, partners and stakeholders, and the host city.