For the first time in over 60 years, the BSAVA has cancelled Congress due to the global spread of coronavirus.

The Association says it delayed this decision as late as possible, and whilst the most recent government advice does not prohibit large public gatherings, it recognises the importance of personal safety for Congress attendees and the need to support the profession in preserving business continuity, maintaining client services and protecting animal welfare.

Amanda Stranack, BSAVA CEO, said: "As the situation continues to escalate, the government have given a clear steer that they expect more stringent controls to come into force in the coming weeks. With Congress now only a few weeks away, we want to give all our attendees as much notice as possible, both to ensure peace of mind, and to give people adequate time and flexibility to change their plans.

"BSAVA recognises the pressures the current situation brings to bear on the veterinary community and in making this difficult decision, has the interests of the profession first and foremost in its mind.

"We would thank all those who have worked hard over the past two years to contribute to the development of Congress, a huge amount of effort goes into preparations from BSAVA volunteers, Congress participants and our staff."

Sue Paterson, BSAVA President, said: "It is with great regret that we have made the difficult decision to cancel Congress, which has taken place annually for more than 60 years. Congress is an incredibly important event in the veterinary calendar, and we were all looking forward to an inspiring agenda and saying a fond farewell to the city that has made Congress such a great success over so many years. The health and wellbeing of our attendees is of utmost importance to us, and whilst we are sorry to be making this decision, we are confident it is the right one."

BSAVA says it is aware of the impact that cancelling will have on many delegates' CPD hours, so it is now looking at other ways it can deliver Congress lectures and podcasts.

Sue added: "Whilst we won’t be able to deliver the full Congress programme, we will be working with our speakers to capture as many lectures as we can to make content available online."

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