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International conferences cancelled over coronavirus

Meetings in Europe and elsewhere called off due to concerns over transmission of respiratory disease

European research policy meetings and workshops scheduled for March have been cancelled in line with restrictions on large gatherings and international travel intended to slow the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak.

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations announced on 3 March that it had cancelled its 2020 annual conference, scheduled to be held in Barcelona, Spain on 25-26 March. The meeting will now happen there next year.

Earto said it was “extremely sorry about this cancellation and any inconveniences it might have caused”.

The same day, the European Commission announced it had cancelled a workshop on industrial development due to take place on 5-6 March in Brussels.

In addition, the Association of European Research Libraries delayed registration for its annual meeting, which is due to be held in Belgrade on 24-26 June. It said it would update potential delegates on its plans for the meeting by 16 March at the latest.

The cancellations came as a 3 March update from the World Health Organization put the total number of confirmed infections with the coronavirus at almost 91,000. Although almost 90 per cent of these have been in China, where the outbreak began, more than 100 have been in Spain, Germany and France, and more than 2,000 in Italy.

In the United States, the American Physical Society also cancelled its annual meeting, which had been scheduled to take place in Denver on 2-5 March and was described as “the largest physics meeting of the year”.