Matt Mullenweg announced this morning that he made the call to cancel the first WordCamp Asia amid concerns surrounding COVID-19, the recent coronavirus strain with over 42,000 reported cases. The virus has caused over 1,000 deaths to date. WordCamp Asia was scheduled to run from February 21-23 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I’ve arrived at the difficult decision to cancel the inaugural WordCamp Asia event,” wrote Mullenweg. “The excitement and anticipation around this event have been huge, but there are too many unknowns around the health issues unfolding right now in the region to explicitly encourage a large public gathering bringing together over 1,300 people from around the world.”
Mullenweg expressed a desire to explore an online event, possibly live-streaming some of the sessions. However, WordCamp Asia organizers said they will not be able to organize one. “We believe our efforts are now best focused on making the best arrangements necessary to assist all affected participants,” said Naoko Takano, the global lead of WordCamp Asia 2020.
“I greatly appreciate the work everyone — from organizers to attendees, speakers to sponsors — put into making this a big success,” said Mullenweg. “So many people have come together to create an event to inspire and connect WordPressers, and I am confident that this passion will carry through into the event next year. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the virus so far, and we sincerely hope that everything is resolved quickly so that this precaution looks unnecessary in hindsight.”
Some attendees have already made the trip to Bangkok. Others have purchased non-refundable flights. The WordCamp Asia team will refund all event tickets and will provide a free ticket to next year’s event. Organizers, speakers, attendees, and sponsors should all read the WordCamp Asia’s cancellation post for details on any next steps they may