We would like to give you an update on the status of the 2020 Weight Stigma Conference, in light of the current public health situation. As you might expect, we are taking the implications of COVID-19 very seriously and are keeping track of evolving national and global conditions in our ongoing efforts to assess the situation and provide a safe environment for our presenters and delegates.
At the time of this writing, WSC 2020 will go ahead as planned. Alongside our concerns for the wellbeing and safety of our community, we do not want to contribute to an acceleration of panic. We acknowledge that broader elements of xenophobia and isolationism are being expressed under the guise of concern for some. We wish to promote solidarity within our community and support the livelihoods of the local communities in which we live and work. Our working principle is that scholarship and activism must continue, and meeting in-person is an essential component of this.
We are aware that a number of institutions have now applied bans on non-essential travel, but most are planning to revisit the situation around the second or third week of April. Given this, it seems prudent to postpone making firm decisions about possible cancellations until the end of April, taking into account the advice given by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time regarding the evolving national and global situation with respect to progression of the coronavirus outbreak and containment measures required.
While we do not advise booking travel to New Zealand at this time, it would be helpful to us to have an idea of how many people would be wishing to attend provided that travel is still running smoothly to and from New Zealand. As such, if you are still hoping to be able to attend, we would be grateful if you would go ahead and register for the conference here: https://stigmaconference.com/registration-2020/
**Note: All registrations will be refunded in full in the event that the conference is cancelled.**
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have. For now, we wish you all good health and hope we are able to see as many of you as possible in Auckland in June.
- WHO: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- NZ Ministry of Health: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
- For those of you who like to know the numbers, a useful piece for The Conversation from Dr Ignacio López-Goñi, Professor of Microbiology at University of Navarro