The Grand Superintendent has discussed the current coronavirus situation with the Deputy Grand Superintendent and me and decided that the Annual Convocation will go ahead as planned. This decision has been made using the latest government advice, the advice from UGLE and our (limited) medical knowledge as a Grand Superintendent dentist and a Scribe E vet. We are both well versed in respiratory disease control and in my case the epidemiology of coronaviruses, albeit a different coronavirus and in cats.

The current government strategy is to contain and delay – and therefore the situation may well get worse during the coming few months. To delay the meeting could well increase the risk.

The ultimate decision is one for each individual to make depending on his individual risk category , but the following may help.

  1. The risk of serious illness and death is low and almost entirely confined to immune-compromised patients and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, particularly if aged over 80. If this is you or your partner or someone you have close and prolonged contact with, you need to take extra care.
  2. Anyone who visits hotspots (northern Italy for example) or has had direct contact with a confirmed case after Sunday 8 March should be self-isolating until after the convocation and therefore should not attend.
  3. Anyone feeling poorly in any way on the day should not attend. Your immune system will already be struggling.
  4. The meeting itself has no “tactile component” other than hand-shaking. Do not be offended if people decline to shake hands. We do not wear gloves at the meeting – but wearing of gloves or not is irrelevant. The virus can exist on gloves as well as skin for long enough to be transferred.
  5. Wash your hands when necessary for 20 seconds with soap and water and make sure they are thoroughly dried before leaving the washroom.
  6. We will refund lunch payments if you cancel by Monday 9 March (a few days away), but cannot do so after this date.
  7. We understand that people may wish to cancel at a late stage and no-one should feel guilty for doing so. Your health is more important than one meeting.

Provincial Grand Scribe E