Coronavirus fears force cancellation of major conferences

Glasgow and Edinburgh had been set to welcome more than 4,000 delegates to the events.

Two medical conferences have been cancelled over fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

Diabetes UK had been set to welcome around 3000 delegates to Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) later this month.

But the charity said it had cancelled the three-day event after carrying out “a detailed risk assessment”.

Meanwhile, a second medical charity has cancelled its annual conference at the end of the month in the wake of the outbreak.

The Microbiology Society said 1,400 scientists had been due to attend the five-day event in Edinburgh.

Diabetes UK said it had taken account of the “health and wellbeing” of attendees.

The decision was also taken to avoid a loss of medical staff to the health service, the charity said.

A statement to delegates read: “This is not a decision we have come to lightly.

“Hospitals are currently operating at the highest possible national incident response level, to enable them to be as prepared as possible for the impact of the COVID19 outbreak.

“On that basis, we do not believe it would be right or responsible to proceed with holding the conference when the NHS is in such need of its expert workforce.

“Equally we are mindful of our responsibility to support efforts to delay the spread of COVID19 across the UK.”

The event for medical professionals from around the UK and the world had been due to get under way on March 18.

Conferences are a major earner for the city’s economy.

In Glasgow in 2018-19, 530 conferences attracted 160,000 delegates and a spend of £150m on accommodation and hospitality.

The venue is set to host a major United Nations climate change summit in November.

Amid fears among campaigners that COP26 could be cancelled, the UK government has said it is closely monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Event Campus said: “The organisers of 2020 Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUKPC) have confirmed their decision to cancel their event with us. 

“Whilst this is disappointing, we respect their decision. 

“All other events on the Campus are currently going ahead as planned and we continue to monitor advice from the World Health Organisation, UK and Scottish Government, and NHS Scotland in relation to COVID19.”

Aileen Crawford, of the Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “We fully respect the very specific circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the Diabetes UK Professional Conference, as our healthcare services respond to the Coronavirus.

“The team at the Convention Bureau are working hard with all of our city partners to support conference organisers host their events in our city in the coming months.”

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