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ICANN might cancel Spring Break over Covid-19 fears

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2020, 13:12:41 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN’s next public meeting, which is due to kick off in Cancun, Mexico less than three weeks from now, is in peril of being canceled due to fears about Covid-19, aka Coronavirus.

CEO Göran Marby is to host a call with community leaders in a few hours to discuss the issue. ICANN has assembled a “crisis management team” to monitor the spread of the disease.

The fear isn’t that attendees could pick up the virus from Mexican locals — there’s not a single confirmed case in Mexico yet — but rather that an already-infected person might show up and transmit the disease to others, who might then take it back home with them.

Or — even worse — ICANN is considering the possibility 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”.

That’s a reference to the cruise ship currently anchored off Japan, where 3,400 people have been quarantined for the last couple of weeks.

Imagine that. Trapped at an ICANN meeting for weeks. The boredom might kill more people than the virus.

Given that the vast majority of Covid-19 cases so far — over 70,000 — have been in China, ICANN is also worried about Chinese attendees getting racially profiled and hassled by others.

ICANN notes that the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has been cancelled, and Cisco has cancelled a conference that had been slated to go ahead in Australia around the same time.

Could ICANN follow suit? It wouldn’t be the first time ICANN has changed is meeting plans due to a virus outbreak. Could ICANN 67 be the first remote-only ICANN meeting? It certainly seems like a possibility.

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Comments (7)

  1. I doubt the meeting will be cancelled. But let’s see.

    Take as an example CloudFest – a bigger event shortly after ICANN, and no plans to be cancelled.

  2. John Berryhill says:

    “…an already-infected person might show up and transmit the disease to others, who might then take it back home with them”

    Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to some ICANN attendees.

  3. Rubens Kuhl says:

    On the other hand, if the community is stranded there we might able to finish 3 PDPs (Reg Data, RPMs, SubPro) in a single sprint.

    • gpmgroup says:

      Don’t know about wrap it up – might be able to get the extension through for the RPM WG lol. 4 years and still no draft report for phase 1. And still no recommendations for IGOs to be able use URS in that phase 1 report. Not for want of asking.

      But hey, the RPM working group are going to take a look at the IGOs request for special treatment in UDRPs again shortly in a new ePDP (the ‘e’ means exclusive special people only allowed to help) because they didn’t like the outcome of the IGO/INGO WG in which it was pointed out if IGOs choose to initiate proceedings they have no immunity whatsoever and that applies to anything not just domain names! – Simply immunity is a shield not a sword i.e. if you want to start a dispute you can’t suddenly have a reasonable expectation of immunity in any follow on proceedings. – There that’s just saved the ePDP 2 years of arguing in weekly meetings lol

      (Some people in the GNSO want to micromanage the ePDP process presumably so pesky things like facts can’t be considered)

  4. James Bladel says:

    “ Imagine that. Trapped at an ICANN meeting for weeks.”

    Some say Hell is personalized to torment the individual, but I imagine a lot of folks share this one.

    But sequestering everyone for 2 weeks might be the only way to get the next round of gTLD applications launched anytime soon.

  5. Phil Buckingham says:

    Would be much better, anyways, for the Sub Pro participants to have some productive F2F in ICANN LA offices .ICANN can you afford this ?

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