The Austria Center will remain eerily silent in mid-July, when the digital-only congress takes place. Photo taken on 13 March 2020 by Dr. Erik Ranschaert, PhD.
"It is with a heavy heart and much regret that the Board of Directors of the ESR has decided not to hold an onsite ECR in 2020," the ESR statement noted. "We have a social responsibility to our members, partners, staff, and the general public. In the current crisis, the ESR must lead by example, and it is clear that your safety will always be our No.1 priority and we sincerely hope for your understanding and support of our decision."
The decision was not taken easily, and the choice not to hold ECR 2020 onsite presents a significant burden for the ESR that will also influence future congresses and endeavors, the statement continued.
"Public health authorities in Austria, as well as much of the rest of the world, have restricted large meetings and enforced travel bans, with no official indication as to when these restrictions will be lifted. As we are currently witnessing, almost all specialty and subspecialty societies and other congress organisers have already, or will shortly, cancel their meetings for 2020," the ESR stated.
The ESR said it made its decision because the COVID-19 outbreak had worsened, with Europe becoming the epicenter of the global pandemic.
Registration fees and expenses
Registration fees paid by delegates for ECR 2020 will be valid for ECR 2021, due to take place on 3-7 March in Vienna. Also, an ECR 2020 registration will automatically grant free access to the online congress in July 2020, including on-demand access until 31 December 2020.
Any registration queries should go to the ESR staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, although the ESR urged registered attendees to be patient.
With respect to flight and accommodation bookings, the ESR suggested people check the provider's cancellation policy.
"As there is not yet an official statement by the Austrian government regarding travel restrictions, border openings, or the allowance to hold major events in July, you should consider waiting with the cancellation of your booking if you are not eligible for free cancellation now," the ESR stated.
Image courtesy of the ESR.
Most airlines offer vouchers for booked flights or a rebooking to a different date or destination, so delegates should check their airline's website, it noted.
Further information about the ECR 2020 online event will be made available in the near future, the ESR said. The group will publish the ECR 2020 abstracts within the next few days in the Insights into Imaging journal. Also, it promises to publish all related regulations issued by the Austrian government and authorities on the ESR website.
The ESR statement was also sent as a letter to all ECR 2020 registrants on 9 April. The letter came from the ESR Board of Directors: Prof. Boris Brkljačić from Zagreb, Croatia; Prof. Michael Fuchsjäger from Graz, Austria; Prof. Regina Beets-Tan from Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Dr. Adrian Brady from Cork, Ireland; and Prof. Lorenzo Derchi in Genoa, Italy.
"We are not only a medical profession, but a family, and helping and protecting one another during moments like these is of the utmost importance. At no time have your services to radiology and healthcare been more important than now," the statement concluded. "We hope you stay safe and wish you all the best during these trying times."
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