Dear RDA Community Members,
Many of you have been in contact lately enquiring if we will cancel the Plenary meeting taking place from 18 – 20 March 2020 in Melbourne.
I have discussed this with the local hosts and organisers and we have agreed that the meeting will not be cancelled unless the Australian government places a ban or veto on meetings and / or conferences of 350-400 attendees. So far, we have no indication that this is likely to happen, but as you all know, COVID-19 has changed many things recently. We are discussing contingency plans for different scenarios but this is the latest update, we do not intend to cancel the event.
What I would like to strongly advise is that you monitor travel alerts issued by the Australian government at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus. Please note that people from China or Iran, or anyone who has transited there recently, will not be admitted to Australia.
Note that the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has increased sanitary measures and based on government advice has added standard hygiene awareness posters in all front-of-house and back-of-house bathrooms. Furthermore, hand sanitisers are available at MCEC customer service desks, retail kiosks, and cafes.
It has been a very difficult period for Australia with the devastating bushfires and the subsequent flooding and I know that many of you would like to show your support for our Australian colleagues and wonderful hosts who have had to anticipate many different scenarios over the course of the last 6 months. I also appreciate that each attendee will make his / her own assessment of whether they wish to attend and your peace of mind, health and safety is of utmost importance. As always, we make every effort to facilitate remote participation where feasible. If you wish to cancel your participation and have already paid your registration fee, please note the terms and conditions here https://www.rd-alliance.org/15th-plenary-registration-terms-and-conditions
We will continue to monitor the situation and you will be informed immediately if there are any changes.
Thank you for your continued support for the RDA community and for Australia.
RDA Secretary General, Tuesday 3rd March 2020
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