Dear friends,

I’m sorry to announce that the Executive Committee has decided to postpone the WFPICCS Congress: Mexico City to later this year.

I know that all of us have all been looking forward to the Congress, and you all have put in an incredible amount of hard work to ensure this would be a hugely successful Congress. Early delegate numbers are strong, fantastic speakers have confirmed, and nearly 1000 abstracts have been accepted for presentation!

The COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen, however, and due to the great uncertainty surrounding the impact this will have on our communities over the coming weeks to months, the only responsible option is to postpone the Congress.

Sustained transmission of COVID-19 has begun in many countries, and the scenario initially seen in China has started to play out in other countries such as Italy, South Korea and Iran. It is estimated that we may see the peak in the coming 2-4 months.

With mass gatherings discouraged, cohorting 1500 of our finest pediatric critical care doctors, nurses and allied health professionals together is just too risky.

Additionally, clinicians in many countries have had restrictions imposed on all overseas travel, and even if Mexico City is not considered an “at risk” destination, our target audience will be uncertain whether they will be able to travel in June. Planning to attend an overseas Congress in such circumstances becomes near impossible.

We felt it was important at what is a time of stress and uncertainty for many due to COVID-19 that we provide some certainty and remove any unnecessary pressure.

Now is the time for us all to focus on our families, our units, our hospitals, and our communities.

I have to acknowledge the enormous amount of work that so many people have put in to ensuring the Congress would be successful and can assure you all that the decision to postpone has not been taken lightly.

I am deeply grateful to all the members of the local organising committee, as well as the local and international scientific committees.

I also have to thank all the abstract reviewers, as well as all the staff at Kenes who have been so supportive.

Thanks must also go to all the invited speakers who kindly agreed to block out their calendars and participate in the Congress. The Congress would be nothing without them.

We are hopeful that we may be over the worst of this current crisis later this year, and the Executive Committee, Chairs of the Scientific and Organising Committees and our partners at Kenes are currently exploring alternate dates and will keep you updated.

It is hoped that many if not all those who have had their abstracts accepted will stay with us, and there may even be additional ‘late breaking’ abstracts. We are also hoping that many of our invited speakers will also be able to reschedule to join us later this year.

I want to personally wish you all the best dealing with this threat and implore you all to keep yourselves safe, including using recommended PPE safely. Your families and the pediatric critical care community need you!

My best wishes to you all.

Stephen
President, WFPICCS