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Coronavirus alert over key EICC pensions conference

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies addressing last year’s event at the EICC (pic: Terry Murden)

UPDATE 3 March; The conference market in Scotland is showing the first signs of being hit by the deadly coronavirus.

After receiving calls from anxious delegates, organisers of a three-day pensions and savings industry event due to take place in Edinburgh next week, have written to the 950 visitors who have booked saying they are “monitoring” the situation.

The Investment Conference, organised by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, is one of the biggest annual events at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, costing non-member delegates £5,775 and bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds to the city’s economy.

This year’s event from 11 to 13 March is due to be addressed by Pensions Minister Guy Opperman, journalist Kirsty Wark and a range of leaders in the sector.

In a message to delegates, also posted on its website, the PLSA says: “We have received a number of enquiries as to the steps the PLSA is taking to mitigate the risk posed by the coronavirus at our up-coming Investment Conference in Edinburgh.

“Please note that there are no current plans to cancel the conference. We are, however, very much aware that the coronavirus situation is evolving. We are monitoring, and will continue to monitor, the UK and global situation, and will act upon any official advice from the UK Government.

We ask that you please act responsibly when attending the conference

– PLSA statement

“Your health is of primary importance to us so please be assured that we, and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), are acting upon all official UK Government advice received in order to ensure your safety, to act responsibly and to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

“We ask that you please act responsibly when attending the conference and follow the UK Government advice regarding travel.”

Organisers of another event this Friday, a lunch organised by the Chartered institute of Taxation, are also keeping a close eye on developments around the virus.

In a note to guests attending the event at the Signet Library in Edinburgh it says “We are monitoring the emerging position with regard to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

“The Joint Presidents’ Luncheon will go ahead as planned.  However, if having read the advice on the HSE website, you have doubts about attending, please contact us.”

Johnson warns of significant rise in cases

The latest impact on the economy came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that there could be a “very significant expansion” of the number of cases of coronavirus in the UK.

The number of cases in the UK rose to 51 on Tuesday, including one in Scotland.

The prime minister said: “The most important thing now is that we prepare against a possible very significant expansion of coronavirus in the UK population.”

It is “much more likely than not that we will face a challenge in the weeks, months ahead,” he said, adding that the country was “well prepared with a fantastic NHS”.

Mr Johnson said that “further protective measures” against the spread of the disease would be announced “as and when that spread happens”.

See also

Up to a fifth of workers could be off sick with coronavirus

Coronavirus could see global growth cut in half says OECD



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