CTIF advices members to restrict travel and use internet based solutions for meetings
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The World Health Organization declared on Wednesday to classify the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Given that the virus will likely soon spread to all countries on the globe, the CTIF advices all members to exercise caution when it comes to travel – and if possible restrict all interactions to virtual meetings on the internet.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com Text by: Tore Eriksson, President of the CTIF / Björn Ulfsson, Communications Coordinator ot the CTIF
UPDATE March 16, 2020: INTERSCHUTZ in Germany is cancelled until 2021. This effects CTIF´s Delegates Assembly, since DA was supposed to be held during Interschutz, arranged by DFV. For now, Delegates Assembly is postponed. Stay tuned for more information on new dates for Delegates Assembly!
Many countries in Europe and elsewhere has now decided to prohibit large gatherings until April or other future dates: Italy put the entire country under lockdown on Tuesday, in an attempt to stop further spread of the coronavirus. Germany and France have already introduced restrictions on travel, and Spain, Denmark and several other countries are closed schools and cancelling events.On Wednesday evening the United States announced a travel ban from all European countries (except UK) for a month. Many other countries have introduced, or are considering, strong actions to stop the spread of the virus. Several countries are proposing a ban on gatherings larger than 500 people.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Wednesday that we can expect the situation to get worse during the coming weeks, and likely also during coming months:
“We can expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” said
Tedros, as the director-general in a declaration on the WHO website.
The general concern of the CTIF is how the Corona virus will affect medical resources in member countries, given an even larger spread of the virus in the future. Even though the COVID-19 is currently not any more deadly than a common flu, it is highly contagious and the demand for hospital care becomes very high in dealing with the more severe cases. Given the rapid spread of the virus, it makes the Covid-19 outbreak different from other pandemics in recent years.
General Advice from CTIF at this time:
The CTIF International Association of Fire Services consists of 39 sovereign member states, each governed by their own national and regional jurisdictions when. The recommendations for first response, health care and national protection may differ in each region, and therefore, CTIF cannot give general guidelines for how to deal with the situation. CTIF does however strongly advice all members to closely follow their local authorities advice and recommendations at this time, as always.
Delegates Assembly, Interschutz and other large technical seminars:
While several large technical conferences around the world have already decided to cancel or postpone their activities due to the pandemic, it is currently under consideration if CTIF´s yearly congress the Delegates Assembly (with its important upcoming elections) can still be held in Hannover on June 17 of this year.
Strong advice against international travel and physical meetings:
For the moment, CTIF strongly advises its members to avoid unnecessary travel and to postpone Commission and Working Group meetings involving international travel at this time. A good option during the course of the pandemic is to work with video conferencing systems or other internet based, virtual solutions.
On Monday March 16, it was decided that INTERSCHUTZ in Germany is cancelled until 2021. This effects CTIF´s Delegates Assembly, since DA was supposed to be held during Interschutz, arranged by DVF. For now, Delegates Assembly is postponed. Stay tuned for more information on new dates for Delegates Assembly.
The CTIF Commission for Voluntary Firefighters informed their members on Thursday that their planned April Commission meeting Ljubljana has been postponed until further notice due to travel restrictions.
The CTIF Youth Leader Commission decided on Saturday to cancel their 15th Symposium of the International Youth Leader Commission in May, also due to the corona outbreak.
President of the CTIF International Association of Fire Services