IATEFL statement on Novel Coronavirus

13th March 2020

Update 13 March 2020

Important: the 54th Internation IATEFL Conference and Exhibition has been deferred until March 2021.

Please click here to read an important message regarding the IATEFL International Conference and Exhibition



Update 6 March 2020

We want to assure you that IATEFL is continuously monitoring the current coronavirus situation.

At the start of this week the UK government published an action plan to deal with a more serious Coronavirus outbreak if that occurs in the coming weeks and months. There are no current plans to cancel large-scale gatherings such as sporting events and pop concerts, or smaller ones such as the IATEFL Conference. As such we currently have no plans to cancel the annual conference.

Mindful of our duty of care, we are carefully considering and consulting on what the appropriate sanitary, health and other measures should be, and can be, adopted. As a result we will be introducing practical steps to enhance the safety of the annual conference, including regular disinfecting of surfaces, as well as equipment in session rooms. Hand sanitisers will be available at all venue entrances, guidance on the use of tissues and the importance of handwashing will be posted around the venue, and we will be encouraging delegates to find original ways of greeting each other rather than hugs and kisses.

All of these measures are designed to promote a safe conference without detracting from its benefits for delegates and exhibitors.

Coronavirus is clearly presenting an unprecedented global challenge. We equally feel that it is our collective responsibility to focus on the facts and to act with common sense and sound judgement, and that containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself.

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Update 23 February 2020

IATEFL is closely monitoring developments of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Our thoughts and best wishes are with everyone affected.

The health and safety of our members and event delegates is always our top priority. As such we are following safety advice and precautions as recommended by the UK Government and the World Health Organisation.

What about the annual conference in Manchester?

  • A small number of people in the UK have tested positive for Covid-19, mostly connected to one adult who caught it in Singapore.
  • The UK government and local public health authorities say the risk to individuals remains low. UK Chief Medical Officers say anyone who has travelled to the UK from a small number of countries or areas of countries in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath should stay indoors and telephone (dial 111 in the UK) for medical advice.
  • The Manchester Central venue has installed sanitisers at the entrances, and also have awareness messages in the washrooms as well as throughout the venue on its digital signage screens.

Advice for delegates

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
  • Bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. Sanitiser gel will be available to delegates around the venue.
  • If you do experience cough, fever or shortness of breath return to your accommodation straight away and dial 111 for advice. The chances are it’s not connected, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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