Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Last Updated 1000hrs Thursday 28 May 2020

 

COVID-19 Newsletter
We understand that there are a number of questions and concerns surrounding our December, January and February Global Impact Programs in light of this we have launched a weekly newsletter for those who are currently placed and their loved ones. Students who are currently placed or are in the process of receiving a  placement are automatically signed up. If you know someone who is currently signed up for one of our upcoming Global Impact Programs and would like to receive the newsletter you can sign up here.

 


 

Last Updated 1224hrs Wednesday 08 April 2020

 

Changes to Our Office Opening Hours
In light of doing all we can to help flatten the curve and keep our wonderful team safe, all of our offices will remain closed until at least 01 June 2020, with the possibility of extension. All of our team are working remote, and our phones are manned, so always feel free to give us a call during business hours!

 


 

Last Updated 1055hrs Monday 30 March 2020

 

Changes to our upcoming Training Courses
As many of you may be aware, the National Cabinet issued an order for all non-essential work spaces to close and for a reduction of gatherings to a maximum of 2 persons. A mandatory 14-day quarantine order is also in place for those entering Australia from overseas.

 

Building off our previous update, our Team Leadership Training course for April 2020 has been postponed to September 2020. Our Senior Leadership Training course for March and May 2020 has been postponed to July 2020.

 

Those who have been affected have been notified by our team. Again, thank you to all of our Trekkers, Leaders, students and wider community for being so understanding as we navigate this new world together for the next few months.

 


 

Last Updated 1148hrs Monday 23 March 2020

 

By Order of the Federal Government
As many of you may be aware, the National Cabinet issued an order to close places of social gathering, including pubs, registered and licensed clubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos and nightclubs and religious gatherings. Australia has also been advised:

 

  • No gathering of more than 500 outside;
  • No gathering of more than 100 inside;
  • During gatherings of 100 or less indoors, we must ensure that there is only 1 person per 4sqm; and
  • To avoid all non-essential domestic travel.

 

Additionally, many State governments have closed their borders, requiring mandatory 14-day quarantine through self-isolation of any person who enters the state via air, road, train or otherwise.

 

Given it is our absolute interest to prioritise the health and safety of our trainees, leaders and team members, we have made the decision to postpone our April 2020 Leadership Training Course to September 2020.

 

Those who are affected have been contacted via email already and will receive a phone from us within the next 48 hours to discuss their options.

 

Thank you again, to everyone for being so understanding as we navigate this unprecedented time together. We are working as hard as we can to continue to bring this opportunity to as many of you as possible.

 


 

Last Updated Wednesday 1600hrs 18 March 2020

 

DFAT Travel Advice – Update & Postponement of June/July Programs
At 0830hrs, DFAT updated their Travel Advice for all countries to a ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’, regardless of age or health. They are also encouraging all Australians abroad to return home as soon as possible via commercial flights to avoid the complexities of border closures in other countries.

 

At this stage, in the interest of prioritising the health and safety of our trekkers, leaders, staff, and international communities and partners, we will be postponing all of our scheduled programs for June and July 2020. Our Summer programs are still scheduled to go ahead as planned, given the travel ban is unlikely to last until December 2020.

 

Those who will be affected by this update to DFAT’s travel advice, and who have not already been called by our team, will be contacted directly via phone so we can provide a thorough update and discuss their options moving forward. We aim to have called everybody involved within the next 24 hours.

 

Thank you to everyone who has been involved with this changing situation so far – your patience, optimism, flexibility and understanding have not gone unnoticed and have made this a very smooth process despite the very bumpy conditions. We are continuing to take direction from DFAT and International SOS, and will provide updates via this page as the situation develops.

 

Senior Leadership Training
As we all know, the situation is changing rapidly. In line with prioritising our team’s health and safety, we have made the decision to postpone our upcoming Senior Leadership Training Workshop Intensive set for 27-29 March 2020. New dates will be advised in due course and all trainees will be called within 24 hours to provide a thorough update and discuss options moving forward.

 

Our Senior Leadership Immersion for the end of May 2020 is still going ahead as planned and if there are any changes, we will advise accordingly.

 

Team Leadership Training
At this stage, Team Leadership Training immersion is still planned to go ahead on 20 April 2020. Should anything change in line with direction from the Federal Department of Health, Australian Federal Government, NSW State Government or NSW Health, we will provide an update within 24 hours of any decisions being made. This update will come via phone directly from our training team – and we promise that it won’t be a secret TLT scenario.

 


 

Update from Friday 1730hrs 13 March 2020

 

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice
At approximately 1200hrs today, DFAT updated their general Travel Advice to advise all Australians to reconsider their need to travel overseas at this time.

 

This does not affect any of our currently scheduled programs for Winter 2020 or Summer 2020/21 at this stage; blanket advice warnings in the past generally did not apply for extended periods of time, and so we are still moving ahead.

 

We are monitoring any updates to the situation by the hour, and anyone whose upcoming trips are affected by the changes will be contacted directly by us to provide an extensive update on what’s going on.

 

We appreciate everyone who has been patient given the frequent changes coming left, right and centre. Our priority remains focused on the safety and wellbeing of our Trekkers and staff and so we thank everyone for their continued understanding and flexibility given these turbulent times!

 


 

Update from Friday 1100hrs 13 March 2020

 

Protocol Update

 

We have updated our Protocol to include ‘Level 3 Reconsider Your Need to Travel’ as a trigger point for deferral of any of our programs. Should any of our destination countries be declared a ‘Level 3 Reconsider Your Need to Travel’ or ‘Level 4 Do Not Travel’ by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we will contact you directly.

 

Insurance Update

 

It is not uncommon for insurers to implement their right to set a ‘cut-off’ for claims related to ‘well-known’ events. Given that COVID-19 has been getting a lot of airtime, Chubb Insurance Australia has made the decision to set 02 March 2020 as the ‘cut-off’ date for any travel insurance claims relating to or arising out of COVID-19. Majority of insurers implemented this a lot earlier. This means that if you booked a flight on or before 01 March 2020, your cover would still include Coronavirus-related claims on an ongoing basis, no matter when you are traveling this year. If you booked a flight on or after 02 March 2020, you won’t be covered for any claims related to COVID-19. The good news is that , you are still covered for everything else listed under the policy! For a copy of the policy and policy wording documents, head to our insurance portal.

 

India Visas

 

The Bureau of Immigration in India has released a statement saying that they have suspended all tourist visas and e-visas granted on or before 11 March 2020. All this means is that you’ll have to wait until 15 April 2020 to apply (or reapply if you were super organised) for your visa, which usually only takes a couple of days to process. We will keep you posted if anything changes as we get updates through our channels!

 

We are here for our team

 

We take our risk and safety protocols very seriously and this of course includes our Trekkers. The global situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing every day, and we are doing our utmost to put our people first in terms of their health and wellbeing, as well as keeping them informed with any changes that may affect their upcoming internships with us. Today, our team is reaching out to every single Trekker affected to walk them through what their options are, and make sure that they are well looked after. We have a stellar team on board, both internally and through our advisors and partner organisations, so you can rest assured that we are working tirelessly to get the best outcomes for everyone involved.

 

If you feel unwell…

 

Just a friendly reminder that if you feel unwell or exhibit any symptoms of the common cold or flu (fever, runny nose, cough), make sure you call your GP, any emergency department or the Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 before visiting anywhere! 

 

PEV Coronavirus Hotline

 

If you have any questions about what we’re doing in response to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, we’ve set up a COVID-19 hotline between 9am – 5pm, where you can speak to one of our two dedicated staff members about our protocols and response. 

 

Coronavirus Hotline: +61 2 8074 3662.

 

Health and Safety

 

And last but definitely of the utmost importance, we want to make sure you stay safe and look after yourself healthwise. Remember, we learn a lot about ourselves in times of uncertainty from the way we react. Look after each other, take care of yourselves and remember, as always, we are better together.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Update from Friday 06 March 2020

 

Everything you need to know about our current position on COVID-19. Now, you can put down the 48 pack of toilet paper and have a read of our current plan and response (and why you’re still in very safe hands).

 

All trips are still going ahead!

 

At this stage, all countries that we operate in are still safe to travel to, and we will continue to work closely with our university partners, and external safety partner, to ensure that we carry out the most appropriate actions in light of the risk. 

 

Health & Safety

 

You can rest assured that as an international organisation, we do take the threat of this virus very seriously, and in no way are we diminishing the physical and emotional impact on many people around the world, particularly in Wuhan. Our Training & Country team are monitoring the situation closely, corroborating information from WHO, DFAT, local health ministries and departments, the USA CDC and International SOS.

 

We have a dedicated hotline

 

If you have any questions about what we’re doing in response to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, we’ve set up a COVID-19 hotline between 9am – 5pm, where you can speak to one of our two dedicated staff members about our protocols and response. 

 

Coronavirus Hotline: +61 2 8074 3662.

 


Our Risk and Safety partners are the best in the biz

 

The safety of our staff and students is our top priority, and so we are closely monitoring the overseas travel advice put forward by the Australian Government via Smart Traveller, and our risk and safety partner, International SOS (ISOS). The good news is that currently none of the countries we operate within are categorised as ‘Level 4 Do Not Travel’.

 

We also have partners across the UN, government, military, and medical sectors providing extensive and frequent guidance. In fact, one of our advisers is an infectious disease specialist working at the epicentre of the NSW response and, during this time, went on a cruise in Asia, which speaks to her thoughts on the current outbreak (thankfully, it wasn’t off the coast of Japan though!).

 

So, what happens if the situation escalates?

 

At this stage, it is highly unlikely that any of our trips will be cancelled.

 

However, PEV marks the health and safety of our students and team as our top priority, so should DFAT declare any country we travel to as a ‘Level 4 Do Not Travel’ location, we would postpone the June/July trip to summer 2020/21, and continue to monitor for later projects.

 

If any trip is cancelled, we will notify anyone that is affected via email with comprehensive instructions based on the proximity to your project – we won’t be leaving you in the lurch though! This email will come directly from PEV’s offices.

 

What About Our Staff and Operations?

 

We have cancelled all operations in China, and Project Everest Ventures staff have been barred from travelling to or transiting through China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan.

 

Your Flights and Transit

 

We have to take a strong stance on this one. Any student who travels or transits through China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan in the 28 days prior to project starting will not be eligible to participate.

 

In relation to the above direction, this means no student is permitted to transit through China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan on their way to country.

 

In addition, if any student is required to transit through any country to get to project and any of those countries meet the criteria below, they are not permitted to transit through said country:

 

  • has been categorised as ‘Do Not Travel’ (level 4) by DFAT (you can check classification through the smarttraveler website) or;
  • has had its nationals barred from entering Australia.

 

 

 

Corporate Traveller is our best friend. 

 

We always recommend booking flights through our online Flight Portal with our dedicated booking partner organisation, Corporate Traveller.

 

Why? Well, if any trip has to be cancelled and flights had been booked through Corporate Traveller, we could easily move any flights (with consent) to a project period later in the year, or cancel those flights on request. Any refund issued by the airline would be passed to the purchaser, and in the event that the purchaser couldn’t claim the total refund through the airline, we would assist them in the process of lodging a claim through travel insurance.

 

If flights had been booked independently of Corporate Traveller, the purchaser would need to work with the airline directly to move or cancel their flights. Once they had confirmation from the airline about the total refund they’ve obtained, only then would we be able to help them lodge an insurance claim.