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UPDATE ON COVID-19 AND SIES

18 MARCH 2020

Dear colleagues

This morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the COVID-19 crisis is now at a critical stage. Therefore our proposed SIES Live Streaming will not be proceeding.

Again we thank you for your understanding and patience in this time of turmoil.

For those delegates and sponsors who were in a paid and registered status, our organisers are working very hard and efficiently with processing your refund preferences and we will have these finalised within the next week.

On behalf of the team at Westmead Endoscopy, I wish you and your families good health and wellbeing, and look forward to welcoming you all next year at SIES 2021, 10–12th March.

Yours sincerely 

Professor Michael Bourke
Chairman Organising Committee SIES 2020
Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Westmead Hospital, Sydney


12 MARCH 2020

Dear colleagues and friends,  

It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of disappointment, which extends across our entire team, that I must inform you about the status of SIES.

Due to the escalation of the COVID-19 disease in NSW, and formal advice received from NSW Health, SIES (including the Westmead Nurses' Workshop) is not proceeding. Within 24 hours all registered delegates and sponsors will receive an email outlining the various options regarding their outlays and further information. We sincerely apologise for the immense inconvenience that the COVID-19 disease has put on all stakeholders of SIES.

As you can imagine, we have been working tirelessly for several months now to deliver another fabulous educational event. At this point we are devastated, but we will regroup, forge onwards and ensure that we minimise the fallout for all of our stakeholders, but especially for those who have empowered the meeting for more than a decade, our loyal delegates.

Yours sincerely  

Professor Michael Bourke
Chairman Organising Committee SIES 2020
Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Westmead Hospital, Sydney


9 MARCH 2020

Dear Friends of SIES 2020, 

We are currently reviewing the situation of COVID-19 and the impact it is presently having across our industry. We have been having daily conversations with NSW Health Officials and key stakeholders regarding how SIES will be affected. 

This message is to inform you that we are taking this situation very seriously and it still remains fluid until we make a formal announcement in due course. We recognise this holding pattern is putting significant inconvenience on you all, and we ask for your understanding and patience at this time. Thank you.

Professor Michael Bourke
Chairman Organising Committee SIES 2020
Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Westmead Hospital, Sydney

3 MARCH 2020

Dear SIES delegates,

I write to assure you that it is ‘business as normal’ for SIES 2020. Several of you have inquired about COVID-19 recently and so I thought I would reach out to the whole group to reassure you.

I have spoken at length with Chief Virologist Professor Dominic Dwyer of Westmead Hospital (who is also Chief of Virology at New South Wales Health Pathology), he has assured me that there is no additional infection risk in relation to attending local meetings. SIES is in fact largely a local meeting, with our delegates overwhelmingly coming from Australia and New Zealand. Historically we do not have any delegates attending, from the high-risk areas, such as South East Asia.

Furthermore, the ICC also regards the safety and wellbeing of all employees, guests and delegates to be of paramount importance. In line with guidance, they have put in place comprehensive hygiene measures around the venue, such as;

  1. Free standing hand sanitisers have been strategically positioned around main corridors, entry points, customer service desks and public areas.

  2. Bathrooms across the venue have a World Health Organisation “How to Hand WASH” sign also.  

  3. Presentation Services (ICC's housekeeping department) allocates one person on each shift to walk around wiping the below areas with a medical disinfectant. This is targeted three times throughout the shift.
    • Escalator handrails
    • Door Handles
    • Elevator buttons
    • Handles in toilets
    • ATM Machines
    • Benches
  4. Toilets are checked and wiped four times a day on each level with a disinfectant targeting the below areas:
    • Handles / Toilet Seat / Toilet Push Button
    • Taps / Doors / Hand dryer / Paper Toilet holders

Our current confirmed delegation are from Australia and New Zealand with a small handful from Europe. None are from any high-risk zones. Obviously we will be fully complying with all guidance and regulations that the federal or state government may provide. I therefore feel that attendees at SIES 2020 will be at no additional risk of exposure to the virus than they otherwise would be. Finally, on a positive note many of the hotels have decreased their room rates.

I look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks’ time for SIES 2020, from Wednesday 25 – Friday 27 March.

Yours sincerely 

Professor Michael Bourke
Chairman Organising Committee SIES 2020
Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Westmead Hospital, Sydney