COST Association briefing on COVID-19
Update from 27 January 2020
Following the communication released on Tuesday 25 February 2020, COST follows the advice of public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national Ministries.
The COST Association is fully dependent and bound to the contractual agreement with the European Commission. As per rules in this agreement, cases of force majeure will be applicable only where participants are forced to cancel their travel due to circumstances out of their control (e.g. national decisions to quarantine specific areas, block borders…). In such cases, “force majeure” will be used to cover otherwise non refundable amounts.
Decisions to cancel travels due to fear of infection, may not be considered as force majeure.
Should the instructions from public health authorities evolve and the European Commission (our funder) make a general decision to cover globally the current situation under force majeure, then force majeure will apply to all cancellations. This is not the case as of now.
National authorities do provide instructions on how to handle suspicious cases. Those instructions must be followed in all cases.
With regards to the conduct of activities in the frame of the COST Action, common sense prevails to decide to continue with an activity, to modify its venue or to postpone it. For the moment, there is no provision to suspend activities or extend period nor to carry forward unspent funding due to potential cases of COVID-19.
Please check regularly the information and advice given on the respective national Ministries’ websites.
24 February 2020
COST Action participants have raised questions with regard to international travel and the risk of infection from the coronavirus.
COST follows the advice of public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national Ministries.
The WHO, in its update from 27 January 2020, advises that “measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.” (https://www.who.int/ith/2019-nCoV_advice_for_international_traffic/en/).
In the current situation, no cancellation of COST meetings or other collaboration activities is required. Should specific measures which would require cancellation of COST activities be implemented in some European Regions, “force majeure” as defined in the COST Vademecum (5.1.5.section 2) will apply.
COST invites Action Chairs and Grant Holders to inform their Science Officer and Science Administrator of any official measure taken by national ministry that might have an impact on the conduct of a COST activity.
Action participants must follow the regional or national authorities’ instructions.
The COST Association recommends checking regularly the information and advice given on the respective national Ministries’ websites (available in local languages).