Dear Friends,

As you all know the Corona virus or COV 19 has affected parts of Northern Italy in the past two weeks.

As of today there have been 1,128 reported cases of which only 478 were confirmed by the National institute of Health.

Over 20,000 people have been tested for the virus so far.

The total victims as of today have been 29 deaths mostly in elderly or otherwise compromised hosts.

Local Authorities have been quick to react and have quarantined the areas involved.

As you know Verona is not one of them even if it is relatively near the epicenter of the epidemic.

At this point, many of you are probably asking themselves what we intend to do as far as our Annual meeting is concerned.

As things stand we see no reason to cancel the meeting and I will try to explain why this decision was taken.

1- Unfortunately this epidemic is only in its early stages. The WHO is convinced that it is inevitably going to spread to other parts of the World in the next few months. Hence we are looking at a real pandemic phenomenon. It is therefore unlikely that one place in the World will be safer than others.

2- Areas which have been affected first will probably develop Herd Immunity sooner making it difficult for the virus to survive and circulate. Our meeting is a full three months away and this should give time for this sort of protection to develop. It is therefore possible that Northern Italy may end up being one of the areas were one is less likely to get infected.

3- As many of you know, despite living and working in the UK, I have kept my practice in Italy where I regularly go every month. I feel perfectly safe in doing so and would not put myself or any of you at risk if the situation were to evolve differently.

We are monitoring this scenario very closely with the help of the Ministry of Health through AIMO (Associazione Italiana Medici Oculisti) of which I am board Member.

It will be our care to keep you all posted.

Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards

Giampaolo Gini

President European VitreoRetinal Society