Update 2 April 2020
The organizers of the 16th World Congress on Public Health - WFPHA, SItI and EUPHA - are fully aware of the challenges that everyone is facing with the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronacrisis is rapidly escalating and putting an enormous strain on health and community services worldwide. The current situation is that in many countries people confined to their homes or having severe travel restrictions. It is unclear how long this situation will last. Some experts are hopeful that the situation will improve over the summer period, others say that it could be around for six more months - that takes us until October - until things are returning to normal. It may be quicker than that - it may take longer.
It is therefore that the Congress Management Committee is exploring all possible options as to whether the congress can be held as planned in October 2020, has to be postponed or has to be moved into a digital format. Now more than ever it is important the public health community to be meeting, in person or virtually. When the Congress actually takes place, it is more relevant than ever. We will be dealing extensively with the coronacrisis, the impact on health systems and community services and the lessons to be learned from it. But there is more, we will also focus on other pressing challenges: climate change, food and water supply, poverty and inequalities. The theme of the Congress: Public Health for the Future of Humanity: Analysis, Advocacy, and Action, shows that we, in the global public health community, have an obligation to respond to these challenges.
We hope you understand that further commitments are difficult to make in the current climate of uncertainty. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will post updates regularly on our website. We encourage you to stay in touch during these critical times. Be assured that the health and safety of all conference attendees are our priority.
We want to express our solidarity to colleagues around the world who work tirelessly to fight the pandemic.
On behalf of the Congress Management Committee,
Prof Walter Ricciardi
Prof Carlo Signorelli
Update 11 March 2020
Last Sunday the deadline for submitting the abstracts for the WCPH closed with an exceptional result which was beyond all expectations. In total 3,798 abstracts for single presentation and 260 workshop proposals were submitted. This is the result not only of the good work by the members of the Congress Management Committee (CMC), International Congress Committee (ICC) and the three organizing associations but also by the national public health associations.
The last few weeks has seen an expansion of the coronavirus epidemic, not only in Italy but also in other countries worldwide. The CMC believes that the World Congress provides the best possible platform for discussion and sharing of data and experiences, especially in the rapidly-evolving situation of the crisis.
We remain hopeful that the crisis will resolve itself before the summer and that the situation will have returned to normal by October. The CMC will analyse alternatives should any changes to the programme become necessary. The decisions of organizers of scientific events prior to our World Congress on Public Health will be carefully taken into account. The organizers of the WCPH will work within the rules of the relevant health authorities, and keep the health and safety of our delegates as our utmost priority. We will keep you informed of the situation when it changes.
It is our hope that the COVID-19 virus will be contained as soon as possible and our thoughts go out to those families that have been affected.