Monday, 9 March 2020

'Public health' conference puts public health at risk

There is a big temperance conference masquerading as a public health conference happening this week. Perhaps it shouldn't be.

The Department of Health, and Minister Simon Harris, have so far failed to respond to questions put to them asking if they had put in place measures, recommended by the World Health Organisation [WHO], to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at an international event the Department is co-hosting next week. They have also both failed to respond to questions about how they will minimise the harm to the general population of Ireland should an outbreak occur at that event.

The Global Alcohol Policy Conference, a 3 day event, is due to take place in Dublin from Monday the 9th of March. That event will see somewhere in the region of 1,000 participants, from all over the world, coming together to discuss how best to ‘reduce alcohol-related harm worldwide’.

The conference is organised by the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance, one of many groups set up by the temperance diehard Derek Rutherford.

The WHO has issued a document, “Key planning recommendations for Mass gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak”, which details the plans and procedures that should be put in place for mass gatherings due to the increased risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 that these events represent.

Gript has reached out to the Department, on multiple occasions, and Minister Harris directly to confirm that the Department has carried out the plans and procedures recommended by that document, but both the Department and the office of the Minister have so far not confirmed the existence of any of the plans recommended by the WHO.

Oh dear. I hope everyone's going to be OK.

You can follow the conference on the Twitter hashtag #GAPC2020. So far, it seems to be the usual assortment of false assertions and fanaticism.

No comments: