ICANN Considers How To Deal With Cancún Meeting Due To Coronavirus

ICANN is to hold a conference call this week with ICANN community leaders and representatives to discuss how to deal with issues arising from the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the upcoming ICANN67 meeting scheduled for Cancún, Mexico, next month. The tone of the post indicates that there’s a chance ICANN will cancel the event if the community requests it.

In an email and blog posted dated 14 February, ICANN President & CEO Göran Marby, ICANN President & CEO said ICANN continues “to assess the situation because, as we have stated before, the health and well-being of the ICANN community is our highest priority.” The conference call, slated for Tuesday, 18 February at 17:00 UTC is to share information and solicit the input of the ICANN community.

Marby notes that “as a result of the outbreak the GSMA Board has cancelled the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain; and Cisco Australia has cancelled its Cisco Live event, scheduled for 3-6 March in Melbourne, Australia. (We note that APRICOT2020/APNIC49 in Melbourne has not been cancelled.)”

“As we consider the potential impact for going ahead with ICANN67 as planned, we are closely monitoring a variety of factors, such as:

  • The development of confirmed cases in Cancún.
  • The ability of health authorities in Mexico to effectively mitigate and respond to a case or outbreak. Examples:
  • Clear testing and quarantine protocols, and determination of whether patients can be managed in Cancún or must be transferred elsewhere.
  • Concern over sufficiency of travel restrictions or health screenings for travelers coming from affected countries.
  • ICANN meetings are attended by contractors and participants from more than 150 countries. With cases in at least 25 of those countries, there is a risk of bringing the virus to Cancún and into the ICANN meeting site.
  • The potential a member of the Org presenting COVID-19 symptoms, raising concerns that they may have potentially infected colleagues scheduled to attend ICANN67.
  • The potential of an attendee contracting the virus in Mexico, and inadvertently bringing the virus back to their home country, organization, and family.
  • The risk of a “cruise ship” scenario in which a suspected or confirmed case is identified during the meeting, necessitating the mass-quarantine of all attendees and locals.
  • Discrimination or harassment against any attendee perceived to come from affected countries or regions (i.e., racial or ethnic stereotyping).”