IMF Health Advisory, addressing the issue of outdoors travel in the context of raging COVID19 pandemic by Dr Anil Gurtoo :-
A) The Issue: As we watch the COVID story unfold in most unpredictable twists and turns, the question upper most in our minds is this:
What does it all mean to my mountain travel and activity plans for the coming season? To Go ? Or, Not to Go? That is the Question.
B) Thinking Through: Making a Decision:
1) When confronting a situation
marked by : Uncertainty and Rapid Change, I would adopt a Risk Based Approach .
2) I would ask the following 3 Questions:
If I were to go out to mountains then:
a)What all can go wrong? The full spectrum of all that can go wrong.
b)What is the Likelihood of it happening? The probabilities for each adverse event.
c)What will be the consequences should it materialise?
For example,if I catch COVID infection on the way, or from my team mate, I am more likely to suffer serious outcomes due to high altitude induced immunosuppression / I could infect the whole team and become stranded without any medical aid or possibility of rescue / I or my team could pass on the infection to already vulnerable mountain communities or the porters and trigger an epidemic in an already under resourced area.
The Likelihood of such a scenario materialising is pretty high at 60% or more. The Consequences would be truly tragic.
C) Based on answers you generate to those 3 aforementioned Questions, you create a Risk Level and then integrate it with following variables :-
1) The Risk Level.
2) Your Age and Pre-existing Medical Conditions ( risk of adverse outcomes increases with age and especially,if one has health issues like : Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart disease, Chronic Lung Disease, kidney or liver disease.)
3) Essentiality of your Travel.
So, given what we know as on 22nd March, 2020, I would recommend the following :-
1) Avoid All Non-Essential Mountain Travel and Activities for the next THREE months.
2) Reschedule all present plans to beyond a 3 month timeline.Keep tracking the evolving situation.
Be ready to for a No-Go should the situation again deteriorate after 3 months.
IMF IN THE TIMES OF CORONA VIRUS 2020
Dear Respected Members,
As the pandemic of Corona Virus rages on unabated, I take this opportunity to wish you and your families, good health and well being !
These are unprecedented times for our Nation and Countrymen, indeed for the human race the world over. As we fight this deadly onslaught on humanity, we have no option but to come out victorious. To my mind, ' Social distancing ' or should I say ' Social abstinence ' is key need of the hour and would be our best contribution as Citizens, to the ongoing National effort to combat Covid-19.
These are also very challenging times for the IMF. As you are well aware, all our activities, have come to a standstill. We have had to cancel some pre-planned mega events of the Foundation and postpone others, including our training activities, indefinitely. As of now, all Foreign Expeditions to India stand cancelled. Indian Expeditions too are in a deep freeze. Nevertheless, we are using this time gainfully for resolving some of our ongoing administrative issues, planning for the future and hopefully execution at a later stage, as and when it becomes feasible for us to undertake our mandated activities.
As things stand today, unless there is a drastic improvement in the present scenario, it is unlikely that we will be able to resume our activities, anytime in the near future. In this context, I would request you all to to read " IMF Mountaineering and Mountain Outdoor Activities Advisory 2020 ", which had been shared with all our members and is also posted on our Website.
I will also implore all our Committee Chairmen/ Chairperson, to gainfully utilise this time to interact with their respective Committee Members, using a multitude of existing social media tools available, such as Skype/Chorus/ Houseparty/ Zoom/ Whattsapp/ Uber Conference etc to prepare/plan/work/execute/ coordinate their respective Committee tasks, wherever and in whatever form and way, to the extent feasible !
I would also like to place on record the concerted effort being put in at this hour, by our Hony Secretary, Director and our entire IMF STAFF, in keeping the IMF functioning and alive, while working from their respective homes. Under the existing circumstances, they are working to the best of their ability, as presently the IMF complex is closed. For them too, it is a ' first ' such experience !
I would also like to thank our GC Members and Hony Treasurer, for their deep concern, unconditional support and constant inputs, in wake of the present situation.
I am also grateful to all our Esteemed Members, for your intrinsic support, which gives us the strength to look ahead with optimism. It will be our endeavour to do whatever is pragmatic and feasible by IMF at this juncture. Incase you have any suggestions in this regard, please do share with us !
I would also like to make a Special Mention of Dr Anil Gurtoo, our IMF Member, who is playing a key role and alongwith other Corona Warriors of the Nation, is in the forefront of fighting this pandemic.
Lastly, I would request all of you to Stay Safe and Take Care ! I will further request our Senior Members to be 'extra' careful !!!
I will end by sharing this quote of Charles Darwin, which I feel is very relevant to the current times :-
"It is not the strongest of the species which survives nor the the most responsive, but the one the most responsive to change "
Regards and Best Wishes,
Brigadier Ashok Abbey, AVSM