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Add this to the list of difficulties presented by holding SCMS in Tokyo this year: the government apparently asked the university at which the conference is being held to cancel [edited to add: due to H1N1, of course!], but the university resisted, instead negotiating the following conditions:

1) To monitor the situation and inform conference participants of any outbreak, the government requires information regarding each participant’s whereabouts, including hotel location and contact numbers during the conference and for ten days afterward.

2) Conference participants will have their temperatures taken when they enter the conference each day. Those registering a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be given an additional test to rule out the H1N1 virus. If the test is positive, there is a chance that conference participants, along with the infected individual, could be quarantined.

3) Participants will need to fill out a health declaration form each day of the conference. The declaration will ask about symptoms (including fever, nausea, dizziness, etc.) experienced during the past twenty-four hours.

4) Participants will be required to wear surgical masks during the conference.

5) If the World Health Organization raises the alert level to phase 6 (either before or during the conference), or if a conference participant is found to have the H1N1 virus, then we will be required to cancel the conference. This could happen anytime up to and including the conference dates. Any potential financial costs resulting from quarantine and associated delays are the responsibility of the traveler; the Society is not responsible for these costs, and members traveling agree to incur them.

I was opposed to holding the conference in Tokyo this year (and in London two years ago) because of the prohibitive cost of attending for students and underemployed faculty. But this… well, I’m still glad I’m not going, but am at the same time perversely sorry not to be able to see hundreds of academics having their temperatures taken and wearing surgical masks each day…

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