Plans for the Hybrid Cytokines2021 conference are well underway, and the organizing committee is delighted with the level of interest and enthusiasm from our speakers, delegates, sponsors, and partners to attend the meeting in person. The restrictions and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in various uncertainties about travel to and from the UK. As a devolved nation, the Welsh Government continues to review the scientific evidence and introduces safeguards and policies that are often different from those adopted by the Government in London. The most relevant information on the Welsh Government’s handling of COVID-19 can be found here (https://gov.wales/coronavirus). These provide daily updates on the situation in Wales, and I hope these will help as you consider options to attend the meeting.
Currently, the infectious incidence in Wales is low, and vaccination uptake means that 88% of the adult population in Wales has now received their first dose and 3 in 5 adults are now fully vaccinated with a second dose (data released on 22nd June 2021). Whilst all health boards in Wales are now inviting anyone aged 18-29 years old into the vaccination program, recent increases in the transmission of the Delta variant have slowed our release from certain restrictions. This remains a sensible approach and Welsh Government has maintained a cautious approach to the handling of the pandemic. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain low in Wales (new data anticipated on 23rd June 2021) and this continues to give us some comfort and scope for optimism.
We are however acutely aware that situations change quickly and appreciate that many of you will be weighing up options to attend in person or virtually through the LabRoots platform. The organizing committee has worked hard to build a conference program that will serve both forms of attendee, and arrangements are in place to move the conference to an entirely virtual format if necessary. Throughout July we are likely to see the introduction of more relaxed measures across the UK, but these will be subject to changes in the data. Consequently, we are extending the early bird registration date for Cytokines2021 to July 31st, 2021. Thus, ensuring delegates have sufficient time to make an informed decision on their attendance. As the conference approaches, we will provide regular updates to ensure everyone has the latest updates and access to all relevant information.