Organizers of meetings and events need to think about the potential risk from Covid-19 and take measures to ensure the health and safety of participants.
Below you can find the official recommendations for preventing or reducing Covid-19 risks of the World Health Organization.
BEFORE the meeting or event
Develop a plan
· Start by checking the advice from the authorities in the community where you plan to hold the meeting or event. Follow their advice.
· Consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is needed. Could it be replaced by a teleconference or online event?
· Could the meeting or event be scaled down so that fewer people attend?
· Verify information and communication channels in advance with key partners such as public health and health care authorities.
· Actively monitor where Covid-19 is circulating. Advise participants in advance that if they have any symptoms or feel unwell, they should not attend.
· Make sure all organizers, participants, caterers, and visitors at the event provide contact details: mobile telephone number, email, and address where they are staying. State clearly that their details will be shared with local public health authorities if any participant becomes ill with a suspected infectious disease. Anyone who does not agree to this condition cannot attend the event or meeting.
Develop а plan in case someone at the meeting becomes ill
· Identify a room or area where someone who is feeling unwell or has symptoms can be safely isolated.
· Have a plan for how they can be safely transferred to a health facility.
· Know what to do if a meeting participant, staff member, or service provider tests positive for Covid-19 during or just after the meeting.
· Agree the plan in advance with your partner, healthcare provider or health department.
DURING the meeting or event
Outline the safety measures you are taking
· Build trust. For example, as an icebreaker, practice ways to say hello without touching.
· Encourage regular hand-washing or use of an alcohol rub by all participants at the meeting or event.
· Encourage participants to cover their face with the bend of their elbow or a tissue if they cough or sneeze. Supply tissues and closed bins for disposal.
· Provide contact details or a health hotline number that participants can call for advice or to give information.
Meet the essential standards for safety
· Display dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub prominently around the venue.
· If there is space, arrange seats so that participants are at least one meter apart.
· Open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated.
· If anyone starts to feel unwell, follow your preparedness plan or call your hotline.
· Depending on the situation in your area, or recent travel of the participant, place the person in the isolation room. Offer the person a mask so they can get home safely, if appropriate, or to a designated assessment facility.
AFTER the meeting or event
Retain the names and contact details of all participants
· Retaining the information for at least a month will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to Covid-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event.
Inform participants about suspected Covid-19 cases
· In case of a suspected Covid-19 case at the meeting or event, participants should be advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.
· If they develop even a mild cough or low-grade fever (i.e. a temperature of 37.3 C or more) they should stay at home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (less than one meter) with other people, including family members. They should also call their healthcare provider or the local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms.
Source: World Health Organization