Because of the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Friends are asking—and rumors are spreading—about canceling the 2020 FUM/QMI/USFWI Triennial sessions. The General Board of Friends United Meeting met last week and discussed this possibility. While the virus is spreading quickly, at this point no decision has been made to change the plans or dates for the Triennial.
On Friday the Kenyan government put a 30-day ban on international meetings, conferences, and events—we pray this will be lifted. However, in order to make a responsible decision, we are closely monitoring the websites and travel advisories of the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control. As of today (March 9, 2020), Kenya and North America are not on their watch lists; neither are most European countries through which North American travelers will pass. If the status of those countries should change, or the status of areas through which we expect travelers to transit changes, or if public facilities are closed in Kenya or transit areas, we will call a meeting of the FUM Executive Board, in conjunction with our USFWI and QMI Triennial partners, to discuss the advisability of holding the Conference.
Of course, travel advisories will likely change. We encourage Friends to do the following:
1) Pay attention to FUM’s official publications for changes and updates.
2) Educate yourself about the coronavirus, learn to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 infection, know if you are a high-risk candidate, and practice good habits to limit the spread of the virus.
3) Go ahead and register for the Triennial now. We have extended the registration period until April 15th for Friends residing outside of Africa. The registration period for Friends residing in Africa will remain May 1st.
4) Purchase cancellation insurance when booking your flights or check the cancellation policy of your airline. Many airlines are now waiving cancellation policies.
5) Visit CDC and WHO’s websites to read their travel tips and advisories.
6) Contact me if you have any questions about your travel plans.
Again, we will inform you through our official publications if plans change.
Grace and Peace,
Kelly Kellum, General Secretary
We found this article from the Lonely Planet travel site helpful: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/should-i-cancel-travel-plans-coronavirus.
Here are some other links that are being regularly updated:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel
World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice