Given the latest WHO guidance, the unpredictable nature of the novel coronavirus and the growing number of travel restrictions in place, organizers have made the “extremely difficult decision” to postpone this month’s 2020 International Social and Behavior Change Communication Summit in Marrakech, Morocco.
“We are deeply disappointed by this turn of events, as we are sure you must be, but know it is the right thing to do at this time,” the Secretariat wrote to attendees today. “Travel has become increasingly difficult and it’s uncertain what the situation will be four weeks from now. Apart from protecting the health of the Summit participants, we know that many of you, as part of the public health community working in communication, are needed in your home countries as you prepare for your responses to the outbreak.”
The SBCC Summit Secretariat is led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. The decision to postpone was made in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Morocco.
Organizers say they hope the event can be rescheduled for October and expect that registration fees and hotel reservations will be honored at that time. Those with additional questions can find answers here.
The Summit is expected to draw more than 1,500 SBCC practitioners from scores of countries around the world. The five-day gathering promises a rich lineup of keynote speakers, presentations of the latest research and trends in SBCC and the chance to network with and bounce ideas off leaders in the field.
“This is not a decision taken lightly, but we trust you will appreciate how important the safety and well-being of attendees is to everyone involved in the planning of this event,” the Secretariat concluded. “Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this challenging situation. Stay safe and well and we look forward to seeing you in Morocco.”
As of this morning, there have been more than 92,000 cases of COVID-19 reported around the world and more than 3,000 deaths. COVID-19 was first reported in December in Wuhan city in China’s Hubei province.