DAISI made the difficult decision today to postpone the planned Winter Solstice Charity Ball scheduled to occur at Novotel Manly Pacific on 20th June 2020.
This follows the World Health Organisation’s upgrading yesterday of coronavirus as a pandemic, with Director-General Tedros Adhanom, urging all nations to “take all necessary measures to slow further spread and to protect health systems from becoming overwhelmed with patients seriously ill with coronavirus (COVID-19)”
There is also mounting pressure from various medical fraternities in Australia to ban large public gatherings until the coronavirus is under control. Today Federal Labor MP Mike Freelander, who has also worked as a doctor for 40 years is quoted by ABC reporter Stephanie Dalzell as stating “I don’t believe people should be attending large gatherings because of the risk of spread,” Dr Freelander said “If we don’t slow down the onset of the coronavirus I’m very concerned with the onset of winter and the influenza season, our systems are going to be completely overwhelmed.” This was echoed by many medical & surgical societies, including General Surgeons Australia, and The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, who have put on hold all major public gatherings.
At this stage the DAISI Charity Ball will probably remain at the Novotel Manly Pacific, but a specific date has not been established. We really need to see how long this pandemic lasts for. Ideally a Charity Ball end of 2020 if not early 2021 will occur. DAISI is grateful to Novotel Manly Pacific which has waived the usual cancellation fee in this situation. “It is a wonderful thing when corporate organisations such as Novotel behave in such a responsible manner”, “normally cancelling an event like this would cop a huge cancellation fee” says Charity Ball organiser and previous DAISI Chair Dr Sepehr Lajevardi.
Originally a “Winter Solstice” fancy dress theme, it is unclear at this stage the theme for the future charity ball.
Once a date is decided, the event will be promoted, and tickets will become available for purchase online. All money raised will go towards supplying surgical equipment for planned laparoscopic and endoscopic training in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Author Prof Christophe Berney is the Co Deputy Chair of DAISI and part of the organising committee for the annual DAISI Charity Ball. Prof Berney is Conjoint Professor with the University of NSW with expertise in colorectal, upper GI, thyroid and hernia surgery and regularly volunteers with DAISI to the Solomon Islands & PNG.