In recent weeks, the Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Society of São Paulo (SPR) has closely followed, with all its professionalism and seriousness, the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil and worldwide. As a medical society, SPR has always been concerned with the impact of the pandemic on the health of the population, as well as on the sustainability of public and private health systems in the face of a possible overload of care, including assessing the effects of this crisis on the Diagnostic Imaging sector.
As the organizer of the São Paulo Radiological Meeting, SPR faced all these same concerns, and a series of other difficult and delicate issues, since the realization (or not) of the JPR has implications for thousands of people who participate (or even depend) in some way on the event: SPR members, attendees, national and foreign lecturers, exhibitors, suppliers, visitors, collaborators, receptionists, etc. As a company, SPR also needed to assess the impacts of the various possible decisions, including on its sustainability, since the society is an asset of all members, and we have other projects in progress, in addition to JPR, which require constant investments. It took some time, then, to evaluate with maturity and discernment what would be the best decision to be made, considering all these roles of SPR and the benefit of the most significant possible number of people.
Time soon became scarce, as the pandemic scenario in Brazil worsened dramatically, and decision making could no longer wait. Given this context, yesterday, March 18, at the SPR headquarters, after several meetings of the SPR Crisis Committee, the Executive Board and the Advisory Council formed by former presidents, after an extensive and painful plural decision process, we pondered that:
– The scientific evidence recorded so far makes it clear that the COVID-19 has a high spread in clusters of people, and JPR traditionally gathers thousands of participants;
– The recent and tragic experience of China and Italy, added to the exponential increase in numbers in Brazil since last week, indicate that it is necessary to adopt drastic and immediate measures in the country to curb the number of cases, and that means, other things, keeping people in their homes;
– The Municipality of São Paulo published on Tuesday, March 17, a decree in which it revokes the operating permits already granted to private events, and informs that it will no longer issue new permits;
– The Brazilian Medical Association (AMB), a class society to which SPR is linked through the Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging – CBR (Scientific Department) and the São Paulo Association of Medicine – APM (Federated Society), sent in an official statement dated March 18 with the recommendation that affiliated medical societies do not hold events for ninety (90) days;
– The Transamerica Expo Center (TEC), the headquarters of the São Paulo Radiological Meeting, does not have in its calendar another date available for holding JPR in the second semester. We remind you that the event is a large one, occupying all TEC pavilions, for ten (10) days, including assembly, realization and disassembly;
– The calendar of events for the second semester is already quite committed to other courses and congresses previously confirmed, from different medical societies, many with which SPR keeps partnerships, and in respect to these, the date overlap was not considered under any circumstances;
– Carry out the JPR in a reduced or partial format does not meet the desires of the SPR partner exhibitors for the performance of the São Paulo Radiological Meeting – considering a smaller number of participants, on any available date as long as it does not conflict with the events already scheduled, but which will probably still be a moment of fear and discomfort in moving or traveling, and even in a scenario of economic crisis, which given the gravity of the last few weeks may, unfortunately, take months or years to recover;
– The benefit of scientific updating offered by JPR can and will be recovered with a new Virtual Congress project, in which SPR board and team are already working, and which will be released within thirty (30) days. The scientific updating is so essential to the SPR mission and necessary for its members, many of whom remain affiliated only to enjoy the benefit of the event registration exemption.
– Financial losses, whatever the decision, will be inevitable; but, having the scientific certainty that this sad episode of the COVID-19 pandemic will pass, more critical than safeguarding the SPR company within a year, is to preserve the São Paulo Radiological Meeting in all the years to come.
After all these considerations, the Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Society of São Paulo (SPR) decided, with great sadness, but a lot of courage, to cancel the 50th São Paulo Radiological Meeting (JPR 2020), which would take place on April 30 – 3 May, at the Transamerica Expo Center.
With this detailed announcement, SPR seeks, in a true and committed way, to signal to all those involved that in the end, above all, was valued the trust that exists in the relationship built over many years with all the audiences that make up the Meeting happen so successfully every year.
Following the guidelines of public health agencies and municipal and state governments, SPR will be, in the next two weeks, with its entire structure of employees in the home office system. To those who have questions, suggestions, or requirements, we ask that you contact us through the relationship channels available on the SPR website. All will be answered and guided, as soon as possible.
Finally, SPR would like to thank everyone who, until now, was part of the 50th São Paulo Radiological Meeting (JPR 2020). The scientific program prepared by the coordinators had a very high level, hundreds of scientific papers were submitted and approved, teachers were already working in their classes, the exhibitors’ stands and the Innovation, Ultrasound and Intervention Villages were magnificent. The Meeting was incredible. It is with this success in mind that we move forward, with the commitment to make an even better Meeting in 2021, and asking now for everyone’s support.
Board, Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Society of São Paulo (SPR)