A number of spine meetings scheduled for the first half of 2020 have been cancelled in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) has taken the decision to cancel the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) that had been due to take place in Athens, Greece next month (April 1–4).
The decision was taken following a ban issued by the Greek Government on all meetings over the next four weeks due to the evolving Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
In a statement issued this week (9 March) the SRS said: “Due to these issues that are outside of our control, the SRS leadership has made the very tough decision to cancel the 27th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST).
“At this time we are still exploring a variety of options to bring you the excellent education that was planned, and will provide details as we have them.”
In addition, the organisers of SpineWeek 2020 have announced that the event, which had been due to take place in Melbourne, Australia over 24 April–1 May, will not be held as planned.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the necessary measures to protect the health and wellbeing of SpineWeek attendees. Unfortunately, the Australian Government implemented travel bans from China, Iran and Korea,” the event’s organisers said in a statement posted on the event website. “Hospitals, universities and companies implemented travel bans towards their staff causing most of the participating societies, representing over 90% of the delegates to cancel their attendance.
“These decisions unfortunately make that Spineweek 2020 cannot be held as planned.”
Further to this, AO Spine, which organises the annual Global Spine Congress (GSC), which had been due to take place this year between 20–23 May in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), have also issued a statement confirming that the event will not be taking place as planned.
In a statement outlining the decision, AO Spine said: “After careful evaluation backed by the latest scientific reports, the AO Spine International Board has decided to cancel this year’s GSC in Rio de Janeiro.
“Each year we look forward to hosting our spine community, sponsors, and employees from around the world at the GSC to talk about the latest advancements in spine care, exchange knowledge and ideas, and network with fellow colleagues.
“The AO has been carefully monitoring the global situation relating to COVID-19, and the potential impact has changed significantly over the past few days, making it difficult to assess and mitigate any potential risks.
“For AO Spine, the well-being of our Spine community is first and foremost, and any decisions regarding the GSC are focused on prioritizing the health and safety of our members, partners, exhibitors, and staff.”