Dear Chairs of ICOM’s National Committees, International Committees and Regional Alliances,
As I am sure you are aware, the Covid-19 virus is continuing to spread and the number of affected countries, cases and associated deaths is increasing. Over the coming weeks, these numbers will most probably continue to rise.
Yesterday, the World Health Organisation declared that the outbreak is now a pandemic: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—11-march-2020
As ICOM members are located all over the world, please check the advice and directives of your own national authorities regarding containment measures and travel, and comply with these recommendations. The national or regional health ministries and authorities have published advice on containment measures on their websites, and the ministries of foreign affairs have detailed information on current travel restrictions.
If you are organising a conference, seminar or workshop in the coming weeks, please consider both the regulations of the country where the event is planned and those of the countries where the participants are travelling from, as travel restrictions may apply, advice and directives differ from country to country, and the situation is evolving rapidly. For example, today the United States has announced a general ban on the entry of European residents to the U.S and yesterday Germany classified Eastern France as a risk zone.
If you are organising a conference, seminar or workshop in the coming weeks in a country where the virus is actively circulating, please work with local partners and check if it is possible to postpone or cancel the event. It may be possible to apply “force majeure”, however legal options regarding this may differ from country to country.
UNESCO has postponed or cancelled all meetings in March with more than 50 international participants (including speakers and panelists). ICCROM has postponed or cancelled most events scheduled for March and April 2020. ICOM, ICOM China and the Palace Museum Beijing have postponed the spring course at the ICOM International Training Centre, which was planned for April.
Please keep in mind that as organisers, you are responsible for the participants’ health and security. We recommend that you set a fixed deadline to observe the developments and then decide by that date whether the event should take place or should be cancelled.
If you are planning an event for later this year, please follow the development of the health situation carefully, communicate with your partners on a regular basis and keep the committee members and potential participants informed. If you are planning board meetings or working groups, please try to arrange these via video conference or using other digital solutions, to reduce the risks but nevertheless allow members from all over the world to participate.
Please keep the Secretariat updated about the activities and events that you postpone or cancel, so that we can communicate this to the wider network. You can send this information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
ICOM is the only global network of museums and museum professionals; and as such, we must and will keep the international professional exchange going, despite the challenges we are currently facing.
Thank you for your collaboration.
Dr. Peter KELLER
Director General │ Directeur Général │Director General
ICOM – International Council of Museums