Message to COG chatline subscribers
Coronavirus: notification of cancellation of all COG meetings, gatherings and field trips
Since the COG Committee sent out the message below last Friday, we have kept developments with the Covid-19 coronavirus under active review. Understanding of the magnitude of the risk to everyone of this pandemic has increased rapidly.
Like effectively all community groups, and in line with government announcements, COG is therefore cancelling forthwith all COG meetings, field trips, and activities that involve people gathering together.
Our previous precautionary approach to field trips was, on further analysis, assessed as being unlikely to ensure that participants were able to adhere to guidelines of personal distance, either during carpooling and during the walk itself,
and thus was assessed as being unlikely to provide sufficient protection to participants against possible cross-infection. It is also very possible that gatherings of more than a few people will be specifically banned in the near future.
Now may therefore be a time to bird-watch solo or with only a few friends, to bird-watch closer to home, or – if a period of complete lock-down is announced – to spend time with our bird books and photographs. The birds will still be there
when activities slowly return towards their previous normality in the months ahead.
The COG Committee will continue to keep developments under active review, and will continue to meet electronically. We will continue to produce Gang-gang and Canberra Bird Notes, and to run the COG website and chatline
– so please continue to submit notes and articles, and join chatline conversations. As before, we seek the cooperation of members to minimise community spread of the virus, and ask that all follow the precautions that medical organisations and governments
25 March 2020
From: Steve Read <>
Sent: Friday, 20 March 2020 8:22 PM
Subject: Coronavirus message to COG chatline subscribers
Message to COG chatline subscribers
Coronavirus: notification of cancellation of members meetings, and precautionary approaches to field trips
COG has a large proportion of members in the older demographic, who are potentially at greater risk from coronavirus. Moreover, COG meetings attract visitors, including from overseas/interstate where the virus has
already spread in the community, and it’s not possible to know/predict attendance at meetings. The coming winter months are generally associated with an increase in the background rate of respiratory infections. Lastly, the situation with the spread of coronavirus
is fluid and official advice can change quickly.
The COG Committee has therefore agreed to take a precautionary approach and to implement preventive strategies aimed at minimising viral transmission through our activities. The following measures have been put in place:
Monthly COG meetings will be cancelled. There will be no April meeting this year or subsequent meetings until further notice.
Some COG field trips, walks or other activities will continue as scheduled for the time being. Although less medical advice is available in regard to virus transmission in the open air, activities held outside may be less risky
than activities held in enclosed spaces indoors, especially if social distancing and hygiene measures continue to be followed.
However, do NOT attend COG field trips if you feel unwell or have respiratory symptoms, OR are required to self-isolate or have been in close contact with someone who is required to self-isolate. Members should assess their own risk factors of age and existing
health conditions before participating in any COG field trip.
Where activities do go ahead, COG members are free to make their own arrangements for car-pooling, travel and accommodation associated with COG trips, but at the participant’s own risk, and as far as possible maintaining a social
distance from as many other participants as possible. We recommend that governmental and medical advice around social distancing and hygiene measures is followed at all times on all COG activities. Individual participants are free to withdraw from field trips,
and some trip leaders may choose to cancel field trips.
If a participant falls ill with coronavirus-like symptoms during a COG field trip away from Canberra, that person will immediately be isolated from the rest of the group. Their emergency
contact will be notified and/or medical attention will be sought.
The COG Committee and field-trip coordinator will review all field-trips on the program, identify those with higher risk, and manage these accordingly, including cancelling trips if appropriate.
The COG Committee will be keeping developments under active review, and will notify any changes to activities through the COG website, chatline, Gang-gang (monthly) and (for major notices) through email to members.
We seek the cooperation of members to minimise community spread of the virus, and ask that all follow the precautions that medical organisations and governments advise.
20 March 2020