COVID 19: Keep Calm | Carry on (#3)

This is the 3rd update in our Covid 19 announcements to XirCammini Members.

Our underlying advice remains, “Keep calm | act sensibly | exercise discipline | carry on.”

Introduction: Thank You

We want to start with a heartfelt note of thanks and caution:

Thanks: We want to thank all the healthcare professionals, paramedics, disciplined forces, volunteers and all those engaged in the effort to halt and or heal. Thank you.

Caution: A word of caution to everyone else out there in touch with the healthcare profession. Please be supportive of the efforts and instructions in place. These are there to protect us. Please cooperate fully with the medical fraternity. They are our ultimate line of defense.

Overseas Trekking

General Instructions & Announcements

We will continue to monitor local, regional and international news and advisories in order to update our members as necessary.

Based on the latest official directives Malta has suspended travel to and from Spain, Switzerland, France and Germany with effect from mid-night last night. These accrue on the earlier ban on flights to / from Italy (which is still in total lock-down). Local authorities have set up a helpline for stranded travellers: +356 22042200.

Equally important is the 14-day quarantine period imposed on travellers arriving from the following countries and on persons they have come into contact with (i.e. co-workers and family members) in the meantime. A € 1,000 fine applies to all those breaking the quarantine rule. The government is also putting in place a help-system for the delivery of medicinal and other supplies to people in home quarantine.

  1. Italy: anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  2. China (including Hong Kong): anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  3. Singapore: anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  4. Japan: anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  5. Iran: anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  6. South Korea: anyone who returned to Malta from February 26 onward.
  7. France: anyone who returned to Malta from March 11 onward.
  8. Spain: anyone who returned to Malta from March 11 onward.
  9. Germany: anyone who returned to Malta from March 11 onward.
  10. Switzerland: anyone who returned to Malta from March 11 onward.

(Source: Times of Malta: 12th March 2020)

Further information at European level regarding the latest updates is available from: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en

This is the EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control with the latest, up-to-date, objective information from which all local EU governments are drawing information.

XirCammini Members on Overseas Treks

Camino Norte, Spain 21st – 28th March 2020

Following yesterdays’ official announcements cancelling flights to and from Spain, regrettably the Camino del Norte has been postponed to later on in the year. XirCammini is currently in touch with the accommodation providers and will be writing individually to all members concerned regarding recouping of expenses shortly.

We have worked around the clock since yesterday and are pleased to inform you that so far our efforts to reverse costs has been successful. You will be hearing from us.

Lenten Retreat, Spain 29th – 31st March 2020

Similarly the Lenten Retreat in Miraz has been cancelled. The Confraternity of St. James who were kindly going to host us in ther Albergue in Miraz have been informed as have all the participants.

Il Sentiero Degli Dei, Italy 30th April – 4th May 2020

Since the official travel ban, lock-down and quarantine procedures in Malta and Italy respectively are in place until 3rd April 2020 we have been monitoring the situation very closely.

Our recommendation is that we wait until then and in the 1st week of April take a decision on whether or how to proceed.

Notwithstanding this, however, if there are hikers who were intending to join these treks but who – for whatever reason – from now wish to pull out, please let us know and we will return in full the contribution you have forwarded towards the event. We trek to relax and not to stress. While, on balance, it seems sensible to wait until early April to take a decision if anyone has made up his or her mind and is stressing about it please let us know. We will return in full any contribution forwarded to us in connection with this hiking trip.

Local Trekking Events

General Instructions & Announcements

While the official announcement locally was to cancel events with 2,000+ people and our trekking events attract much, much less people we advocate that members act sensibly and exercise caution and self-discipline.

Our activities attract, in general, less than 20 people on weekly evening walks, less than 50 on weekend walks and less than 100 on annual events.  Therefore, one can easily exercise caution for the common good while still practicing a pastime that is known to have significant physical, pscychological and social benefits to all concerned. So, the underlying advice remains, “Keep calm | act sensibly | exercise discipline | carry on.”

We have highlighted our recommendations, based on the ECDC, WHO and local health authorities’ directives in our first think-piece, i.e. https://xircammini.org/presidents-pen/covid-19-keep-calm-be-sensible-carry-on/

These are:

  1. Avoid physical contact with others (shaking hands, hugging or kissing). Where possible a minimum 1 metre distance is recommended;
  2. If you are sick, running a temperature, have a cough, or experiencing trouble to breathe do not join a trek. Seek medical attention. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room;
  3. Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Carry and use hand sanitizers, tissues, and other hygiene products constantly on a trek;
  4. Cleaning hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%–95% alcohol. Use soap and water if hands are visibly dirty;
  5. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Since we may carry some food and drink one also has to take into account the 5 key drivers of food safety i.e.:

It is always sensible to observe the five key points to food safety i.e.

  1. Cleanliness (food, surfaces and utensils);
  2. Separation of raw and cooked food;
  3. Thorough cooking;
  4. Maintaining food at safe temperatures; and
  5. Using safe water.

Universal Peace Walk 1543AD

While the official announcement was to cancel events with 2,000+ people and our trekking events attract much, much less people we advocate that members to act sensibly and exercise caution and self-discipline.

Given the foregoing, XirCammini decided to proceed as follows on the Universal Peace Walk 1543AD

  1. The event will go ahead because the
  • The likelihood is that it will not attract more than 50 people;
  • Hikers – by nature – stagger out when walking; and
  • We will be walking in open spaces.

So, the Walk is still taking place BUT

2. We will be cancelling the transport to avoid having 50 + people in the same confined coach for a length of time. Please make your own transport arrangements for the day. We suggest car-pooling (open windows) among friends leaving cars in Mdina and Zejtun respectively.

3. A full refund (€ 10 Credencial + Transport or € 5 Credencial) will be given to those who paid. No one is obliged to participate and if anyone feels that they shouldn’t we understand. Those who still wish to walk it this is not an event in a confined space. It is an event over a 25km spread.

Refunds will be given during the walk. Please approach the Committee for these.

Needless to say, XirCammini, as a voluntary organisation, has incurred costs for procuring signage and printing Credencials. So if anyone wishes to waive the refund we would appreciate it. However, this will be up to individual prerogative. We will offer the full refund to everyone.

4. The Qormi (05:00 a.m.) segment will be cancelled and we all start from Mdina at 09:00 a.m. We regret this change; but this measure would help facilitate car-pooling in the absence of a coach. We will meet on the Cathedral Parvis in Mdina for a 09:00 start.

5. We wish to reiterate the earlier recommendations in line with ECDC, WHO and government directives i.e. Please:

  • Do not join the trek if you are sick, running a temperature, have a cough, or experiencing trouble to breathe;
  • Do not join the trek if you have recently returned from Italy, Spain, France, Germany or Switzerland. You should be in quarantine;
  • Avoid any form of physical contact with others (i.e. shaking hands, hugging, kissing etc.) and try to maintain the 1 metre physical distance;
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitisers, tissues, and other hygiene products constantly on a trek;
  • Use soap and water if hands are visibly dirty;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Check list of persons coming and make personal arrangements for car-pooling. Keep car windows open as much as possible.

In the face of all this it is worth reminding ourselves that we are not circumstances and we can choose not to be defined or constrained by circumstances.

With the right attitude, awareness and self-discipline we can still keep calm and carry on.