April 16-19, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Hosted/organized by LSARNZ Land SAR, New Zealand. Click for more details...
ICAR Medcom Update - March 18, 2020
We had a video meeting today. Of course the Spring meeting in New Zealand has been cancelled.
The Medcom are reconvening by 'Zoom' on June 3, 2020 to discuss the situation. No planning or anticipation of a meeting this year is possible till then.
John Ellerton, ICAR Medcom President
ICAR Medcom Update - March 14, 2020
I am sorry to report that our Spring meeting in Christchurch has been cancelled/postponed. First I would like to thank Dick and John for all their hard work; hopefully it will not be in vain. Thank you, Naomi for offering to postpone Glenmore Lodge in 2021; we will discuss this next week.
Our thoughts must be with our colleagues that are in the front line. Our thoughts wishes and prayers are with you every moment. I suspect all of us will be touched, and experience loss during these events. (I do not need to explain why this has happened; the news services cover the very appropriate NZ governmental decisions).
Please keep safe. Best wishes, John Ellerton, ICAR Medcom President
ICAR Medcom Update - March 10, 2020
Though this is my first communication to you on the vexing subject of Covid-19, be reassured that our NZ colleagues and myself and our VPs have discussed the issues in the rapidly changing world situation.
Firstly, my heart goes out to our health care professionals that are in the full heat of the outbreak. As a group of rescuers we are used to casualties and distress but this level of community distress is something we rarely encounter. Despair and sadness must be approaching a 'war' situation. Our enduring thoughts are with you.
I intend to post this message on our forum in the next 36 hours but as participants in the Spring meeting I wanted you to read it first, and if you like, feedback to myself on your position as we come into the weeks leading up to the meeting.
The situation around meetings is complex. Currently the meetings are going ahead though inevitably there will be some lessening and flexibility of programme around the Medcom meeting.
NZ is fortunate to be in a very low risk category at the moment. (5 cases)
We are a group of persons from 10 countries, many of us will be seeing Covid-19 patients up until we leave for NZ. We are all in moderate risk countries, some of us are in countries that have to self-isolate for 2 weeks on arrival in NZ. (https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences)
5 days is the average incubation period and 14 days is the isolation period.
The ICAR Spring meeting is an official meeting of ICAR, but (unlike the Congress) there is no 'compulsion' to attend. The meeting has been an educational/outreach event recently depending on the location.
Our priority as individuals and as an organisation is to keep NZ safe, abide by the (multiple) Government rules and not neglect our commitments to our own countries. I am aware that some Doctors have had all leave cancelled.
As of now, my reading of the rules is that all but our Italian colleagues (and anyone else that has been in northern Italy in the last 14 days) could go to Christchurch (avoiding China/Iran in transit) and attend the ICAR Medcom meeting and NZ LandSAR meeting if they are well, take necessary precautions around covering mouth/not touching etc, and do not suspect that they have been in contact with a Covid-19 patient during the last 14 days.
Things may change overnight. You may have to contend with restrictions when you arrive in NZ. (I don't know if our NZ colleagues have the ability to self-isolate us.)
Our NZ colleagues are in contact with NZ public health Doctors and their advice will be paramount. I suspect that other New Zealanders will reflect the official line though one can't discount some animosity to 'foreigners' during this crisis.
ICAR Medcom have had meetings cancelled before - the Icelandic volcano scuppered Spitzbergen. If I recall the monetary loss was low as we rebooked for the following year and hastily arranged a meeting in Austria.
If cancelling the ICAR Medcom meeting helps participants to receive refunds for travel then that could officially happen. (In general, insurance companies will need a governmental directive - 'only essential travel' to recoup travel costs.)
Whether we would delay the meeting until … 2021 would also be an option that members may wish to consider.
Cancelling the ICAR Medcom meeting does not mean that the LandSAR meeting is cancelled. Individuals could still support that meeting. The LandSAR meeting has us and around 50 NZ persons attending and it is their decision whether to continue or not. If they wish to 'exclude' 'foreigners' and continue meeting we would, of course, accept this.
Some of us will be in NZ for 2 weeks before the meetings - effectively virus free by the time the meetings occur. If the meetings are cancelled, some of us may continue with holiday plans if travel is still permitted. Others will not.
Your thoughts and intentions are very important to me. We are not an authority, we are a group of health care professionals with a common interest. As such there is no problem with you expressing your preferences and doing what you think is best. I know I can rely on you to be very sensible and cautious in this crisis.
These are my thoughts as of today. Please keep safe and well, please keep hopeful. Climbing a mixed winter route 5 days ago I wondered how precious and fragile our global world is. A 2mm slip of a front point reminded me of where I was and that we are all human!
Best wishes, John Ellerton, ICAR Medcom President