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CORONAVIRUS: Update from ESMO

Following a thorough review of our activities in light of the non-resolved Coronavirus pandemic, ESMO has today decided that ESMO 2020 will take place as a wholly virtual meeting.

29 May 2020

Following a thorough review of our activities in light of the non-resolved Coronavirus pandemic, ESMO has today decided that ESMO 2020 will take place as a wholly virtual meeting.

The decision will ensure that ESMO is able to play its part in flattening the COVID-19 curve and protect the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who would have attended the Congress, while at the same time contributing to maintain the pace of research, in the best interests of cancer patients worldwide.

ESMO remains committed to maintaining ESMO 2020 as the most influential platform to present the latest oncology science, as confirmed by the encouraging number of submitted abstracts. The scientific programme will also include a dedicated COVID-19 and cancer research track with the objective of improving the treatment of cancer patients with, or in relation to, COVID-19. Learning opportunities with the top global leaders in cancer research will also be guaranteed. Currently the Scientific Committee is preparing a fully featured congress programme that will take into due consideration the specificities of the virtual environment, but still fully responding to the needs of those seeking a fruitful learning and networking opportunity.

All the people who had already registered for the in-person congress will be contacted soon regarding reimbursement and new registration to the virtual meeting.

The ESMO Congress is widely regarded as THE European meeting of the medical oncology community and this year will be no exception.

Additional information will be published progressively on the ESMO website.

At ESMO we believe we have a collective responsibility to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and do all we can to protect cancer patients, oncology professionals and staff.

We also believe we have a duty to maintain the pace of cancer research in order to deliver new treatment options for patients.

ESMO is committed to maintaining ESMO 2020 as the most important and prestigious platform to present and learn about the latest oncology science. The ESMO Congress is widely regarded as THE European meeting of the medical oncology community and this year will be no exception.
ESMO 2020 is to take place in the last quarter of the year and current plans are to go ahead as originally scheduled.

However, in light of the continuous Covid-19 developments, we are assessing all the options available to us.

In the interim, ESMO continues to monitor the situation. The next update is due early June.

Thank you for your understanding.

The abstract submission deadline for ESMO Congress 2020 has been extended by two weeks, from 6 to 20 May. We hope this will help to balance the inevitable day-to-day challenges doctors and researchers are currently facing. ESMO Congress 2020 will also include a dedicated COVID-19 and cancer research track, with the objective to gather meaningful data from across countries and diseases, to help improve the treatment of cancer patients with, or in relation to, COVID-19.

Due to the current situation with the Covid-19 infection, it is not possible to proceed with the ESMO Breast Cancer Congress in its original format.

At ESMO we believe it is our collective responsibility to contribute to flatten the curve, as per the WHO recommendations, but also that it is vital not to stop research and education, to keep to the promise that every cancer patient deserves the best possible care.

We are therefore pleased to announce that an ESMO event on breast cancer will actually happen, in a brand new format, as ESMO Breast Cancer Virtual Meeting, 23-24 May 2020.

  • All abstracts that were accepted for presentation will remain in the ESMO Breast Cancer Virtual Meeting programme, unless ESMO is notified to the contrary. The ESMO Scientific Programmes Team will be reaching out to abstract submitters in the coming days with details.
  • Participation in the ESMO Breast Cancer Virtual Meeting is free of charge, but it will require registration, for organisational reasons. Delegates who had already paid their fee will be contacted by the ESMO Registration Unit to coordinate their reimbursement.

Additional information will be published progressively on the ESMO Breast Cancer Virtual Meeting page on the ESMO website.

In due consideration of the latest information on the Coronavirus outbreak, ESMO and IASLC have made the unavoidable decision to cancel the European Lung Cancer Congress 2020, due to take place 15-18 April in Geneva, Switzerland.

This decision was based on critical elements such as the complete ban by the Swiss Federal Authorities on events of any size, on top of travel limitations from and to most countries, and, importantly, healthcare professionals forced to work extraordinary shifts to care for patients. This decision also underlines our own commitment and contribution to contain and mitigate the spread of the infection, as per the WHO recommendations. 

We are conscious of all the work done by many preparing for this congress, we share everyone’s disappointment and apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.  

Delegates will be contacted by the ESMO office over the next few days regarding their registrations. 

ESMO and IASLC, together with other ELCC partner organisations ESTRO, ESTS and ETOP, represent a vast community of medical professionals, many of whom certainly in the trenches to assist and support cancer patients in connection with the Covid-19 infection. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all of them, their families and patients who have been impacted by the disease. 

The safety and security of all participants to and staff at ESMO events is of utmost importance to us.  

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates regarding future ESMO events and activities.

In due consideration of the Coronavirus situation evolving rapidly and dramatically across the globe, ESMO is closely monitoring the announcements  and  legal frameworks  where events are to be held, to make sure that any decision will abide by such rules, for the safety of all involved.

Where and when official information made available supports continuation, ESMO will confirm events as planned. However, the level of uncertainty is such that it is impossible for the time being to provide definitive information.  

Messages from other organisations confirm the difficulties of these uncertain times. ESMO, like others, acknowledges the high value for doctors and healthcare professionals to come together, to share the latest research, learn from experts, and network, but right now we must all be responsible and make efforts  to contain and mitigate the spread of the infection, as per the WHO recommendations.   

ESMO represents a strong community of more than 25,000 oncology professionals, many of these certainly in the trenches to assist and support cancer patients, a particularly frail population with respect to the Covid-19 infection. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to them, their families and all  patients who have been impacted by the disease.  

Further information will be published as soon as possible.

At present ESMO is not planning to cancel or postpone scheduled meetings. Please visit the webpage of each individual meeting you are interested in and check the homepage for regular updates.  

ESMO is constantly checking the measures and directives released by those countries where meetings are planned. Any future decision will abide by those regulations.  

To facilitate access to educational material for those who should be prevented from travelling, cannot leave their countries or prefer not to take particular risks, ESMO will provide live and/or recorded webcasts from events via esmo.org.  

For the safety of attendees, according to information and guidance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), ESMO is actively taking all the recommended measures to offer a safe environment at meetings, including temperature control stations at the entrance of the congress venue, hand sanitizers available for attendees, medical staff onsite to assist participants. 

We also recommend anyone planning to attend to follow the WHO recommendations for protecting themselves and others from the infection. We feel it is our responsibility to remind all when making travel decisions that it would be prudent to consider the importance of your own health and the well-being of others.  
This is especially valid if you are a medical professional seeing patients regularly, feeling unwell with fever or respiratory symptoms, coming from a high-risk area or been in or near any of the hot zones in the previous days. 

We feel very close to those colleagues who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by the impact of new Coronavirus, and are supportive of all possible measures for them to continue to benefit from ESMO's educational opportunities.   

ESMO will continue to closely monitor the situation and will issue regular updates.

In view of the spread of Coronavirus infections across Europe and now increasingly in France, ESMO has made the difficult but necessary decision not to proceed with the TAT Congress, due to take place 2-4 March in Paris. 

In due consideration of the exceptional circumstances and increasing concerns about the prevalence of the virus on an international scale, we feel it is our collective responsibility to minimise the risk of exportation or importation of the disease. We feel responsible towards individuals, with direct or indirect concerns, and our decision not to hold the event will help reduce the potential risks everyone would be exposed to by travelling to, and attending, the meeting. 

Our decision also reflects the appreciation towards medical professionals and colleagues, particularly those in the most affected areas, for the unusual and remarkable work they are doing in addressing this emergency situation, and who are currently subject to more stringent travel limitations in the best interest of their patients.  

ESMO will reimburse paid registration fees in full. Individual registered people will be contacted and provided relevant instructions in due time.  

The safety and security of all participants to and staff at ESMO events is of utmost importance to us. 

We feel very close to colleagues who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by the Coronavirus, and wish to express our sincere sympathy to them, their families and their patients.  

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates regarding future ESMO events and activities.

ESMO is presently continuing to hold scheduled meetings, unless otherwise indicated. Please check the webpage of each individual meeting you are interested in.

To facilitate access to those who are prevented from travelling, cannot leave their countries or prefer not to take particular risks, ESMO will provide live and/or recorded webcasts from events via esmo.org.

To those who have already registered and are still able to attend, we would like to remind you that according to information and guidance provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), we are actively taking all the recommended measures for our meetings, including having hand sanitizers available for attendees and medical staff available onsite. 

We encourage attendees to regularly check the information made available through the WHO website, as well as review their own country's travel advice.   

We also recommend anyone planning to attend to follow the WHO recommendations for protecting themselves and others from the infection.  

We feel very close to those colleagues who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by the impact of new Coronavirus, and are supportive of all possible measures for them to continue to benefit from ESMO's educational opportunities.  

ESMO will continue to closely monitor the situation and will issue regular updates.

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