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Update on IETF 107 Vancouver and COVID-19

  • Jay DaleyIETF Executive Director

4 Mar 2020

This is a further update, as of 4 March 2020, on IETF 107 Vancouver and the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

It is still our intention to go ahead with IETF 107 Vancouver as the public health advice remains that we do not need to cancel conferences in Vancouver or avoid travel to Vancouver. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to classify the risk of infection in Canada as low and the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to recommend against travel restrictions. As shared earlier, special measures are being put into place for IETF 107 in Vancouver following public health recommendations for meetings of this nature. 

We continue to monitor the situation and will respond quickly if the public health advice changes. While it is clear that the situation is deteriorating, the public health advice from the WHO, which is very consistent and evidence-based, is that local containment of outbreaks is both feasible and demonstrated to work. To hear more about the evidence-based guidance being provided by the WHO we recommend watching a WHO press briefing or reading their daily situation reports.

We are aware that more companies have imposed travel restrictions and in some cases those are dependent on who else will be attending the conference. However, we will not be imposing travel restrictions on IETF participants from specific countries or regions as it is for the Canadian government to decide who can enter their country.

The current PHAC advisory page for visitors is that those arriving from Hubei province of China or from Iran should self-isolate for 14 days on arrival and monitor their health. That advisory may be updated at any time and so we advise anyone traveling from a country with an infection cluster to check that page before travel.

We continue to receive new registrations every day but those are now being offset by cancellations and the number of registered in-person participants is hovering at around 625 with over 200 registered remote participants. The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and IETF Administration LLC continue to monitor the situation and the IESG is currently seeking input from working group and research group chairs to understand the extent of expected session cancellations. 

If we are required to cancel then the IESG is considering options for virtual meeting support, which it will report on in due course.

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