[95all] Update on IETF-95 and the Zika virus

IETF Chair <chair@ietf.org> Tue, 16 February 2016 01:04 UTC

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Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2016 03:04:35 +0200
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Subject: [95all] Update on IETF-95 and the Zika virus
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You have probably seen news about the Zika virus in Brazil and elsewhere. We wanted to let you know that we have asked the IAOC meetings committee and the IAOC to track the situation for any possible impacts on attendees and the meeting.

The perspective of the Meetings Committee and the IAOC is that there is no direct impact on our ability to hold IETF 95 in Buenos Aires as planned, at this point. We are not aware of any world health or travel advisory body recommendations to reduce travel to Argentina, for instance. And of course, we continue tracking the situation and listening for input.

Also, the usual precautions with travel to a foreign country apply for each of us personally.  If you are interested in more details, at the end of this email is also an excerpt list of FAQ and references with further details.

As it was at our previous meeting, remote participation through Meetecho will be available in our eight meeting tracks.  This is important for all of our meetings, and the remote attendance has grown a lot in recent times.

In general, our contracts with hotels make it possible to move meetings on a short timeframe, and alternatives have been explored for Buenos Aires as a procedural precaution should the state of warning change for Buenos Aires.   That doesn't address costs for participants' changes in travel, or impact on the local technical community looking forward to the event, which must also be considered in evaluating alternatives.  For the future, the IETF may wish to pursue the possibility of switching to a virtual meeting as a replacement in such circumstances, and that ability to do so should be planned before an actual issue is at hand.

As noted above, the IAOC and the Meetings Committee are continuing to monitor the situation regarding Buenos Aires for IETF95.  Should travel restrictions appear for Buenos Aires, we will be revisiting the decision to cancel the meeting, or move to an alternate location if time permits.

We recognize that each person’s attendance at any physical IETF meeting is based on personal and professional priorities and circumstances.  While we look forward to a productive and busy meeting on the ground in Buenos Aires, this is an opportunity to be understanding of, and accommodating to, those who choose to attend remotely.

Best regards,

Tobias Gondrom (IAOC chair) and Jari Arkko (IETF chair)

—

Further Information

1. Is there a Zika Virus health risk to attendees in Buenos Aires over the meeting dates?

No. Not at this time - 15 Feb 16 (48 days until meeting)

2. Background on cases reported to date for Argentina:

There have been confirmed reports of the virus in Argentina in which the virus was “imported” by someone who had visited Colombia and another who had visited Venezuela. This is comparable with reported cases that have so far been "imported" into the US (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html)

3. CDC:

The CDC does not list Argentina as an affected area.

The following South American countries are currently being affected by the Zika Virus (with the level "Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions”): Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela.  (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-south-america)

For Pregnant Women: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/index.html

4. US State Department: No warnings or alerts for Argentina

(http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html)

5. WHO:

http://www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/en/

- 1st Feb report:  Travel measures
There should be no restrictions on travel or trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission.

- 5th Feb WHO Latest Zika situation report: (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204348/1/zikasitrep_5Feb2016_eng.pdf)
Travel recommendations: The committee found no justification for restrictions on travel or trade. However, travellers to areas where Zika virus cases have been found are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Pregnant women considering travel to affected areas may wish to consult their health-care provider prior to travel and after return. They should also practice personal and household steps to prevent mosquito bites.

6. IETF meeting page:

Additional information about the Travel Advisories and the Zika virus can be found here:

http://www.ietf.org/meeting/95/zika-virus.html