Welcome Letter Congress President

Manfred Westphal

Dear EANS Community,

this week we had to make the exceedingly sad decision to transform the long anticipated real EANS2021 meeting in Hamburg to a fully virtual format. In the current situation, the health authorities of the city of Hamburg cannot issue a permit for a meeting of more than 100 people, no matter how big the venue is and no matter whether the attendees would be a highly selected group of vaccinated doctors. We have worked constructively with the conference center until the last minute and elaborated excellent hygiene plans which would have allowed a limited physical meeting with almost 800 people but it was not approved, - the fear of Covid was stronger. It is with great sadness that we made that decision. But the risk to commit to a full meeting with all its arrangements which then would be cancelled early October in a situation which most likely will not be better than the situation now is too much a financial and legal risk for the EANS.

Much work has gone into the scientific programme and a record number of abstracts were received and the concept is to honor all that input and go ahead with the scientific programme to the full extent without cutting down on volume. The format will have to be adapted to different timings during the days and less parallel sessions but still the full number of days as anticipated. With the experience gained in the industry during the pandemic, recording and extended access will be available to those registered for the meeting so that everybody has a chance to fully access all the presentations, even at a later point in time.

It has also been decided, that as with Belgrade, the meeting in Hamburg will be moved into the future but not in the domino style, so the schedule for the immediate future remains as planned, and in agreement with the decisions made by the EANS Board and the General Assembly. More organisational information will come forward in the next days and weeks.

We sincerely regret that at a time when different parts in Europe are moving in different directions in handling the pandemic, fear superseded the efforts to have us all meet again, but at some point we will, - and to keep the EANS healthy for those times, it was necessary to take this decision.

We do look forward to better times for us all, and soon enough we will be able to meet in person in the not too distant future.

Kind regards,
Manfred Westphal