Friday, 13 March 2020

Affected by Coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has declared that the incidence of the coronavirus is enough to count as a pandemic, and the UK is one of the countries affected.  The University of Surrey has just announced that next week will be our last week of regular teaching activities.  After that we will be switching to all-online teaching and examining activities.  The campus is not yet planning to shut down, so going in to work is supposed to carry on as normal for now.

Had the coronavirus pandemic not come about, I would have just return a couple of days ago from a meeting in Beijing, but that was cancelled several weeks ago.  Yesterday the Institute of Physics announced the cancellation of all their meetings coming up, which includes the annual Nuclear Physics Conference which they sponsor.  I was due to talk in that, but it's not going ahead.  Before that, is a meeting in Jyväskylä, Finland, which is now almost certain to be changed in some way (cancelled, moved, or performed online).  It's all rather dramatic.  But of course, these small aspects of my work are nothing compared with the consequences of the disease.

On a more personal level, this year very unusually my family was going to come with me on my work trips.  Unusually because my partner is on maternity leave and this gives her the time to travel with me, as well as meaning I can carry on sharing the care of our children when I get home from work even when travelling.  With the Edinburgh conference cancelled it looks like we will be losing quite a bit of money on the travel costs (unless we go anyway, I guess), and the same may well happen yet to a meeting we are all supposed to be going to in Japan in May.  My parents are in Spain for a month-long holiday.  Where they are, all bars, cafes and restaurants have just been shut down, so it is well that they are in a self-catered apartment.  But worrying for them (and me), as their age makes them more at danger from the virus.  They have yet to learn whether the ferry they have booked to get them home will still be running.

Oh, and tomorrow night's school quiz run by my daughter's school Parent-Teacher-Association has been cancelled.  Gah!

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