The following information has been received from the COST Office (27/02/2020) concerning the Covid-19 outbreak, and the current COST policy on Action activities disrupted due to the outbreak. It is likely that this information and advice will be updated.
Dear COST Action Chair,
Following the communication released on Tuesday 24 February 2020, COST follows the advice of public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national Ministries.
The COST Association is fully dependent and bound to the contractual agreement with the European Commission. As per rules in this agreement, cases of force majeure will be applicable only where participants are forced to cancel their travel due to circumstances out of their control (e.g. national decisions to quarantine specific areas, block borders…). In such cases, “force majeure” will be used to cover otherwise non-refundable amounts.
Decisions to cancel travels due to fear of infection, may not be considered as force majeure.
Should the instructions from public health authorities evolve and the European Commission (our funder) make a general decision to cover globally the current situation under force majeure, then force majeure will apply to all cancellations. This is not the case as of now.
National authorities do provide instructions on how to handle suspicious cases. Those instructions must be followed in all cases.
With regards to the conduct of activities in the frame of the COST Action, common sense prevails to decide to continue with an activity, to modify its venue or to postpone it. For the moment, there is no provision to suspend activities or extend period nor to carry forward unspent funding due to potential cases of COVID-19.
Please check regularly the information and advice given on the respective national Ministries’ websites.
Kind regards, Primož
Dr. Primož Pristovšek | Head of Science Operations COST Association | Avenue Louise 149, 1050 Brussels | Belgium