While the coronavirus pandemic is slowly starting to lose momentum in some countries, it is still moving around the world. Millions have been impacted and more than 450,000 people have lost their lives.
The evolution of the pandemic has been highly volatile and nobody can predict how the virus will continue to threaten global health. While researchers are working at full speed to find a vaccine and medical doctors are continuously improving their understanding of effective COVID-19 treatments, it seems likely that societies will continue to protect themselves for the months to come and well into 2021.
In light of this situation, and following discussions with its partners and hosts in Oman, the UICC Board has taken the difficult decision to call off the World Cancer Congress planned for 16th -18th March 2021 in Oman. Following advice from the Omani Government, UICC concluded that delegates from around the world may not be able to travel at that time.
When the Congress was initially postponed from October 2020 to March 2021, the UICC Board and the Congress hosts in Oman were optimistic that the pandemic would be sufficiently under control by then to go ahead with such a big event. The challenges of this unprecedented health crisis are now better understood and it is clear that it would be unwise to proceed as previously planned. UICC would not wish to contribute to a return of COVID-19 to the beautiful country of Oman.
“The Congress is a highlight on our agenda and we very much regret the need for this decision”, said Dr Cary Adams, CEO, UICC. “Not only is this a missed opportunity for the cancer community to gather and exchange in person, but also hosting the Congress in Oman would have been a unique opportunity to unite the cancer community for the first time in the Middle East. Discussions are currently ongoing as to when and how the Congress could return to the region at a future date.”
UICC had received excellent contributions for the broad WCC agenda and some of them will now be integrated into UICC’s new series of Virtual Dialogues.
The next major in-person event uniting the cancer community is the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit, planned for 25th-27th October in Boston, MA.
UICC extends its warmest thanks for all the support it has received for the World Cancer Congress over the years and particularly to those who actively participated in building such a strong programme for Oman.