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ICANN Implements New Travel Guidance

LOS ANGELES – 28 February 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today outlined new temporary travel and event participation guidance in light of the global COVID-19 outbreak, considered a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization. The new guidance will impact ICANN-hosted events and ICANN's participation in events through March, with a reassessment in mid-March on guidance for the coming weeks and months.

On 19 February, the ICANN Board decided to transition ICANN67, which was to be held in Cancún, Mexico, to a virtual platform. In the time following the Board's decision, the COVID-19 outbreak has spread considerably, with cases now in 50 countries and the situation continuing to evolve and remaining fluid. Three countries are experiencing new significant and rapid localized outbreaks that have been traced back to travelers who recently returned from an affected area. Just as many other international companies and organizations are taking important safety measures to limit the spread of the virus, ICANN organization (org) will take the following steps:


  • ICANN-hosted physical events will be cancelled through the end of March.
  • Any face-to-face meetings that have been scheduled in connection with ICANN67 will not be supported and if scheduled will be cancelled. No on-site ICANN org support will be provided to these meetings through the end of March.
  • Please note: April events, as well as the Paris GDD Summit in May, and ICANN68 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will be reassessed after ICANN67 concludes on 12 March.


  • ICANN org employees will not travel to industry events through the end of March unless deemed essential. This will affect ICANN's participation in several conferences.
  • Travel to areas reported by the WHO to be experiencing significant outbreaks will be cancelled. At the moment, the restricted countries include China, Republic of Korea, Italy, and Islamic Republic of Iran. The list of affected countries will be under constant review and the list of cancelled events will be adjusted as a result.


  • All internal business travel will be postponed in March unless deemed essential.


  • Attendance at all large meetings and engagement events, even if they do not require cross-border travel, are postponed through the end of March unless deemed essential.

ICANN support to the community and facilitating its work is important. However, in light of this rapidly evolving situation, ICANN does not feel it prudent to travel or encourage large groups of people to gather in person until more is clearly understood. We will reassess the situation in mid-March with regards to April and future as the situation evolves. ICANN org has an experienced cross-functional crisis team who will continue to closely monitor and amend this guidance as more information becomes available.


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."