As we hit ‘peak panic’ or ‘peak hysteria’ in relation to Covid-19 we are being contacted by many different stakeholders asking if we are proceeding with upcoming events. Many of them are citing their own organisations latest policy directive banning all travel, both domestic and international, or even attendance at any external meetings.
Whether these policy directives are right, sensible and logical is a matter for another day and another post. Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I have strong views on them and that those views are not always entirely complimentary!
However, I do feel it is appropriate that we state our current position in regard to future events and that is that we will follow the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. The AHPPC are providing the advice to both federal and State Governments on how to manage the situation, which in turn is driving any actions those governments might take, such as imposing travel bans on certain overseas countries.
At time of writing, the advice of the AHPPC, and therefore the Government, is that there is no reason why conferences, meetings or public events should not proceed. By the same reasoning, there is no reason to ‘ban’ domestic travel. There is very little to no community transmission of the coronavirus at this stage.
As Brendan Murphy, the Chief Medical Officer replied in Tuesdays press conference, when responding to a question about what is the tipping point at which Government should start looking at shutting down public events:
“Well, we’re certainly not at a tipping point like that at the moment. I think if you had widespread or significant community transmission in one or more cities in the country where there was a risk to people going to public events, that’s when you should start looking at that. The only community transmission we have at the moment is in that small outbreak in north Sydney which is being very carefully managed by New South Wales Health.”
As such, we will for the moment proceed as usual to bring buyers, suppliers and service providers together to continue to learn and network at our events.
In doing so we will introduce additional measures to protect the well-being of participants, turning away anybody showing symptoms of being unwell, and excluding anybody who has travelled from a high or medium risk area in the past fortnight or who has had contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case in the previous 14 days.
Of course this is a fast-moving situation. Since I started writing this post the USA has declared a ban on all travel from Europe by non-US citizens for 30 days and our own government has referred this to the AHPPC for its advice as to whether Australia should do the same.
We will continue to monitor the advice from AHPPC and the Government and react accordingly.
In the meantime – Keep Calm and Carry On!