POSTPONED - 'Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond - National Conference 2020'

Event postponed

Dear Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 Conference Delegate,

I am writing to provide an important update regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the 'Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond - National Conference 2020' to be held in Adelaide on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March 2020.

Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at The University of Melbourne and the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) have made the very difficult decision this afternoon to postpone the upcoming Close the Gap for Vision conference.

The health and safety of our delegates, conference attendees and all of our stakeholders is our highest priority and we have been closely monitoring the publicly available information provided from the Australian and State and Territory Governments. We have been further informed by the consideration of the particular risk identified to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities that we serve.

While significant community transmission of COVID-19 at this time is not occurring in Australia, social distancing measures, such as the cancellation of a public event like the conference, is an appropriate and proportionate response to the risk of increasing transmission. This is especially true as many of the conference delegates work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities. A key consideration for the Indigenous eye care sector is to also ensure the availability of the health workforce. The inadvertent removal of workforce for a period of self-quarantining post the conference is a major risk and would have significant consequences.

We do regret having to make this decision and the relatively late notice. The situation is evolving quite rapidly and we hope to be able to reschedule the conference later in the year.

IEH recognises the hard work and time that many people will have put into preparing for and contributing to the conference. We also acknowledge the inconvenience and logistical challenges that this decision will impose on our colleagues and stakeholders. We sincerely apologise for the impact this decision may cause and thank you all for your understanding and support.

IEH will be in contact with all delegates to arrange a full refund of all registration costs and will keep you informed about our future conference plans.

Best wishes

Professor Hugh R Taylor AC

Melbourne Laureate Professor, Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health