Things have changed rapidly overnight and thus, we have needed to adapt our plans. It is with tremendous sadness and a heavy heart that we have made the decision to postpone #badEMfest20 until February 2021. This decision was not taken lightly, but we have done it with the greatest consideration for fragile healthcare systems around the world. We are sincerely sorry!
The badEM Team have been monitoring the COVID-19 spread and situation in South Africa and internationally for the past few weeks. The situation has been intensifying minute to minute. We have continuously consulted with local and international experts. While inevitable, yesterday it seemed as though we still had weeks to plan and prepare for this. Despite the fact that all tested positive cases currently in South Africa have a direct travel history, we have since seen consistent and a daily doubling of positive cases. This is of particular concern in a country where up to half of our population live in densely populated informal settlements. The risk is simply not worth it.
In the last week alone, we have seen numerous international events being cancelled or postponed in order to curb the spread of the virus and allow for frontline healthcare workers to minimise their viral exposure due to travel. Internationally, there have been numerous travel bans and mandatory quarantine periods that would remove valuable, scarce healthcare workers from active service for up to three weeks.
In the midst of a growing pandemic, we anticipate tremendous strain on healthcare resources, impacting service delivery and patient safety. The ethos of badEM has always been the development of emergency medicine in Africa, but in-so-doing, facilitating positive change in the quality of patient care at the sharp-end. Together, our wish has always been to save lives. Risking exposure, quarantine and infection to frontline healthcare workers across the continent (and the world) would at this stage not be in the best interest of the healthcare system or the patients that rely on care during this difficult time.
If you have already travelled to Cape Town, kindly send us an email. We also provide some useful information at the end of this communique.
We urge all to continue practising good hand-hygiene and limiting any non-essential travel. If you are sick, self-isolate as far as possible. Through advocacy, place pressure on governments to take decisive action to curb the spread of this pandemic.
Thank you for your continued support.
In the spirit of Ubuntu,
The badEM Team
[Ubuntu is a Nguni term meaning “humanity.” It is often translated as “I am because we are,” or “humanity towards others,” or in isiXhosa, “umntu ngumntu ngabantu” but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”]
What about refunds?
#badEM is a not-for-profit organisation that entirely relies on donations and sponsorships to run events such as #badEMfest20. It goes without saying that a postponement of this event will have immense financial implications. We are currently reviewing all of the finances and will provide you with more information in weeks to come. Tickets for #badEMfest20, while not refundable, may be transferred to another delegate should you not be able to attend the 2021 event.
What about flight refunds?
Below we provide some information regarding international and local flights that we have collated. The information that we provide is subject to change, based on travel restrictions. For international flights please check directly with the airline. Most airlines are putting plans into place to allow rebooking of tickets without a penalty fee. For flights within South Africa:
British airways: The BA website states: ‘You’re travelling with us between 14 March to 31 May. You can cancel your booking and receive a voucher for the same value. Vouchers are valid for 12 months and can be used to any destination. Your voucher can be used as part payment towards a future booking to any destination. It must be redeemed for travel on flights taken within 12 months of your original date of departure.’
Flysafair: Will offer you 1 opportunity to change your flight dates, free of charge. You can visit their website here: https://www.flysafair.co.za/travel-tools/coronavirus-and-air-travel
Mango: Mango will offer a free date change on your flight without an administration fee linked to the change. More details here:https://www.flymango.com/en/info/covid19-communication
South African Airways: Have not yet made any announcements related to the rebooking of local flights. This will also certainly change in the coming days as other airlines change their policies amidst tighter travel bans associated with the pandemic. https://www.flysaa.com/za-traveladvisory