Following our recent updates containing advice related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the IALA Secretariat undertook to provide you with more information should the situation change. As such, we have been monitoring the situation closely, taking full account of the advice issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the national authorities in France.
Whilst the advice issued by the World Health Organization with respect to international travel has not changed, you will be aware that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe and beyond and that the number of confirmed cases continues to grow. As such, the French authorities, in addition to the authorities in a number of other countries, have introduced restrictions on travel including recommending periods of self isolation for travellers who have recently visited specified countries.
The wellbeing of our Committee participants from all areas of the world is of paramount importance to us. As the situation is emerging and rapidly evolving and, in particular, taking into account the nature of the advice and restrictions implemented by a number of countries world-wide, we consider that it would be a prudent risk control measure to cancel VTS48.
We recognize that the VTS Committee has a busy work programme and that some work items have tight deadlines, such as the revised VTS Manual. On Monday morning, the Committee management will convene an online meeting to discuss how urgent work items may be best progressed, for example through online meetings or correspondence groups. Following this meeting, an action plan will be circulated which hopefully will ensure that we can maintain the momentum in our important work.
We do appreciate that this may be a disappointment but, as mentioned, the wellbeing of all Committee participants is our primary consideration.
Our earlier advice with respect to the other technical Committees remains unchanged and these are expected to go ahead as planned.