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logo of the 15th International Symposium on Tardigrada in Kraków, Poland, 22nd-26th of August 2022, showing an individual of Doryphoribius dawkinsi, a yellow parachelan eutardigrade with dorsal gibbosities, breathing fire, stylised as the statue of the Wawel Dragon at the foot of the Wawel Hill in Kraków. Font and flame colours represent the colours of the Jagiellonian University logo. Concept and design: Łukasz Michalczyk, artwork: Kamil Janelt (Silesia University) & Łukasz Michalczyk (Jagiellonian University). CLICK TO ENLARGE THE IMAGE

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COVID-19

We have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another, and we understand that some of you may be afraid to come to the Symposium because of the virus. We promise you that we will do everything we can to make the Symposium as safe as possible, but we would like to kindly ask you to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy and to make sure that everyone around you stays safe too.

Although now the Omicron variant is rolling over the globe and infection statistics may be depressing, the very good news is that during the last two summers in Poland, the epidemic was at extreme lows and we expect a similar pattern this summer too. Last August, when the Symposium was originally planned to be held, there were only 220–240 COVID-19 infections and 0–5 COVID-19 caused deaths per day across the entire country (the population of Poland is over 38 million):

 

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Data source: Polish Ministry of Health; graph: Flourish Studio (modified).

 

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Thus, even though now the COVID-19 statistics may be scary and discouraging, please bear in mind that the Symposium will take place in the summer, when it should be much safer. Moreover, most recent predictions made by leading epidemiologists and virologists suggest that the Omicron wave is likely to be high, but rapid and possibly the last such dangerous wave of COVID-19.

 

If, however, the predictions happen to be incorrect and the Symposium is going to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, everyone who registered will be able to vote whether they want to postpone the Symposium and come to Kraków in 2023 or whether they would like the Symposium to be held online. Under the first scenario, the registration fees will be kept in the JU’s bank account until the 2023 Symposium, whereas in the second scenario, the Symposium budget will be recalculated (an online Symposium should be cheaper) and a part of the registration fee will be refunded to each participant. In other words, please do not be afraid to register, as either way you won’t lose your funds. Moreover, most booking services offer fully refundable accommodation reservations.

 



Some of you may be afraid of quarantine when arriving in Poland. The good news is that the present regulations allow avoiding quarantine under simple conditions. Moreover, these conditions are likely to be further relaxed in the summertime. Currently, you can easily avoid quarantine when you arrive in Poland if:

•    you have a negative COVID-19 test done no later than 24 hours prior to crossing the Polish border;
•    you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have an EU Digital COVID Certificate (see below what it means to be fully vaccinated) – this applies to people arriving from within the Schengen Area.

Moreover, in all cases you must fill out the online Passenger Location Form no later than 24 hours prior to crossing the Polish border (you can do it using your mobile phone prior to boarding your plane).

Up-to-date information on Polish government regulations is available in English on websites dedicated to anti-COVID-19 restrictions: https://www.gov.pl/web/coronavirus/travel and https://www.gov.pl/web/coronavirus

Do not worry if all this feels like too much information at once, we will keep you updated about the anti-COVID-19 border regulations when arriving to Poland in this section of our website as well as via Announcements and the Tardigrada Newsletter Mailing List.

 



Here’s what we will do to make you feel safe and protected:

•    organisers and staff in the Symposium venue will be fully vaccinated
•    organisers and staff and will be regularly tested
•    organisers and staff will wear face masks
•    the Symposium venue is spacious and properly ventilated
•    the Banquet venue will be spacious and properly ventilated
•    we will make sure that tests are available to Symposium attendees

And here’s what we kindly ask you to do to help us make the Symposium a safe event:

•    if possible, please get fully vaccinated prior to coming to the Symposium (i.e. please take the booster dose no earlier than on 26.12.2021 and no later than on 08.08.2022)
•    please try to isolate yourself within the two weeks preceding the Symposium
•    please get tested before your journey to Kraków
•    please wear a face mask at all times when travelling from your residence to Kraków
•    please wear a face mask when inside buildings
•    try to a keep a reasonable social distance

 



Information on anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines accepted in the EU:

Comirnaty (BNT162b2) by Pfizer & BioNTech, mRNA 1273 by Moderna, Vaxzevria (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) by AstraZeneca, and Janssen (Ad26.COV.2-S) by Johnson & Johnson.

A fully vaccinated person at the time of the Symposium is someone who took the booster dose on 26.12.2021 or later. In the EU, fully vaccinated people are issued an EU Digital COVID Certificate (if you have one, it’s good to have it with you either digitally or on paper). We strongly suggest taking the booster no later than four weeks prior to the Symposium.