News

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak Advisory

May 13, 2020

Updated : 13th May 2020

What does the updated (10th May) Covid-19 lockdown guidelines mean for getting back in the outdoors?

Charity Challenge welcome the government’s inclusion of amended guidelines regarding outdoor activities and exercise earlier this week. However, we fully recognise that there is variation with regards to the guidelines from the different nations of the UK, and that there is a need for local communities to be given time to plan and adjust for these changes.

The overarching trajectory towards easing restrictions and opening up our ability to travel to places in the great outdoors and exercise is a positive sign for our UK challenge’s that are due to take place later this summer.

We would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone booked on a Charity Challenge trip to read the government’s updated guidelines carefully before undertaking any travel to begin walking or cycling in the outdoors in the coming days and weeks.

In particular we would encourage everyone to read local authorities advice and requests before choosing to travel. Whilst an easing of lockdown guidelines is very welcome, everyone should consider how their actions may impact on the communities and the areas that they are planning to visit.

There is a lot of excellent sources of information available out there. Amongst them we would encourage people to look carefully at some of the following:

What does this mean for Charity Challenge’s UK challenge events?

The government’s recent announcement means that we are cautiously optimistic that we are beginning to move towards a date when we can resume operating our UK challenges again. Currently (as of 11th May) we have postponed all of our challenges up until the end of June, and we are looking carefully at our challenges due to take place in July.

Many of our challenges are reliant on facilities such as accommodation and catering suppliers in order for them to go ahead. The government has indicated that certain hospitality businesses may be able to open in July and we will be closely looking at the advice given and the likely impact on our challenges.

However, our advice remains the same to everyone booked on a UK challenge. Your challenge is scheduled to continue as planned, and we will contact you at 8 weeks prior to your challenge should your challenge be unable to go ahead, or if we need to make any changes to fully reflect the impact of social distancing.

We will be carefully monitoring the government’s updated advice regarding travel to the outdoors, social-distancing, group sizes, use of accommodation and transport. We are hopeful that this will mean that we will be able to begin operating our UK challenges again, but with certain measures in place to make sure that they are done safely.

What does this mean for Charity Challenge’s Overseas challenge events?

The government’s recent announcements don’t give much reassurance, or certainty, around when we will be able to travel overseas again. For the time being our advice therefore remains the same to everyone booked on an overseas challenge:

All of our overseas challenges from September onwards are set to take place as planned. We have cancelled, or postponed, all overseas challenges from March-August to later in the year, or to early next year.

If for any reason we don’t feel your challenge can proceed we will give you as much notice as possible. We can’t give an exact number of weeks prior to departure date, as it will vary depending on the destination and flexibility of the airline, but we will be in touch at least 12 weeks before departure to give you an update on your individual trips status.

We understand that some of you are concerned about travelling overseas this year, and worried about raising your sponsorship money, so in many cases we are also offering people the opportunity to postpone their challenge to a later date. If you would like to know what options we can give you please feel free to drop us an email at challenges@charitychallenge.com, we are here to help and support you.

At the point that we are able to operate our challenges, we will ensure that we take all professional guidance and adopt relevant measures to support you and the local communities during the challenge. We will also confirm any such measures that are put in place.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our participants, suppliers and leaders who have been incredibly supportive and patient through what has been a very difficult time.

We can’t wait to be able to get back to what we do best, running incredible challenges for fantastic people raising money for very worthy causes.


Information below still applicable : 24th April

Updated : 17th April

At Charity Challenge, we continue to monitor and assess the various updates, guidelines and requirements being released from Public Heath England and the UK Government in order to guide the actions that need to be taken with the upcoming UK and overseas challenges. The latest update from the UK Government is that the current restrictions must remain in place for at least the next 3 weeks.

What does this mean for your upcoming challenges? This does not change the current actions Charity Challenge have already taken regarding your UK and Overseas challenges.

UK Challenges

  • All of our UK challenges from July onwards are set to take place as planned. All April, May and June challenges have been rescheduled to later in the year.
  • Please note: If for any reason we don’t feel your challenge can proceed we will make a decision 8 weeks prior to your challenge date (the only exception to this would be if the Government advice suddenly changed – between 8 weeks and your challenge date – and then we would be in touch at the earliest convenience). We’ll be in touch with final details and joining instructions for your challenge closer to the event.

Overseas Challenges

  • All of our overseas challenges from August onwards are set to take place as planned. We have cancelled, or postponed, all overseas challenges from March-July to later in the year, or to early next year.
  • Please note: If for any reason we don’t feel your challenge can proceed we will give you as much notice as possible. We can’t give an exact number of weeks prior to departure date, as it will vary depending on the destination and flexibility of the airline, but we will be in touch at least 12 weeks before departure to give you an update on your individual trips status.

As we adapt to the new way of being, the team at Charity Challenge have come up with numerous tips and advice to support our colleagues, challengers, leaders and partners through this unsettling time.

We also hope the following FAQ’S will help answer some of your queries in the interim but if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy


Updated : 30th March

As the Covid-19 situation continues, we at Charity Challenge continue to monitor and assess the various updates, guidelines and requirements being released from Public Heath England and the UK Government in order to guide the actions that need to be taken with the upcoming UK and overseas challenges.  

During these unsettling times our Charity partners need our support more than ever.  The current situation puts them in an extremely vulnerable position as a huge portion of their income comes directly from fundraising events such as the London Marathon and other challenge events and races which they have now lost.  Now is the time we all need to come together to ensure we can continue to help those most in need. It is our priority to ensure that, where feasibly and practically possible, all Charity Challenge events will run later in the year if they are able to do so, so that we can continue to support our charity partners.  

Depending on destination, departures within an approximate three to six-month rolling timeframe are being rescheduled, postponed or in rare instances cancelled.  Participants, corporate clients and charity partners are being contacted directly for their particular trip and we would be grateful for everyone to wait for these initial communications from us. 

The Charity Challenge team, like many businesses, have reduced its staffing levels as we have initially postponed almost all of the challenges that would otherwise have been operating from March to June this year.

UK Challenges

  • We have rescheduled all April and May challenges to later in the year and we are currently in the process of rescheduling our June challenges.
  • Currently all of our UK challenges from July onwards are set to take place as planned. We will, of course, update you should this change.

Overseas Challenge

  • We have cancelled, or postponed, all challenges from March-July to later in the year, or to early next year.
  • Currently all of our overseas challenges from August onwards are set to take place as planned. We will, of course, update you should this change.

We have thousands of participants on dozens of challenges that we are trying to support, and we ask you to please be patient and understanding of the situation, as it may take us slightly longer than usual to respond to your query.  We will do our best to get back to you ASAP and we are prioritising the challenges in chronological order.  

If you cannot reach us on the phone, please send your enquiry to info@charitychallenge.com and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can. 

For all the trips later in the year which we hope will not be affected, if you are worried about fundraising when you are social distancing then the team at Charity Challenge have put their creative hats on and come up with the following ideas to help: https://bit.ly/3djryeN 

Please stay safe, follow the government guidelines and where possible take advantage of opportunities to keep mentally and physically fit so that you are in good health to tackle your Charity Challenge when it can be done! 


Updated : 16th March

In response to fast-moving events, including the ever more restrictive travel actions being imposed by countries globally, Charity Challenge has taken the blanket step to cancel all remaining overseas trips up to the end of May this year.  All participants have been contacted and offered a postponement, a transfer onto another trip or a full refund.  Subsequent overseas trips will be reviewed on a rolling basis in conjunction with the prevailing Covid-19 situation.  It is guaranteed that the outbreak will end – the only question is when!

For those on UK trips, the outlook is more positive, although under constant review to ensure adherence to government advice.  At this moment all our UK trips will run as planned and should there be any changes participants will be informed immediately.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with you all; our loyal customers, our supportive charity and corporate partners and our dependable operational partners all over the world, and we wish everyone to be sensible, remain positive and to stay safe and secure until this is over. We have put together some Frequently Asked Questions here


Updated : 11th March

As a result of the Covid-19 spread, some governments are implementing strict entry restrictions or bans on travellers who have recently lived in or passed through affected areas, including Italy as the most recent example.  Travellers are responsible for ensuring they satisfy the entry requirements into a country and Charity Challenge would encourage all participants to check their own situations regularly and also ahead of travel, especially if they have visited an affected area recently.  It is also advised that entry requirements, be that visas or electronic travel authorities, are checked to confirm they are still valid, as some governments have annulled existing documentation and require travellers to re-register as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

For the latest information and advice please use the following links to the international WHO, Public Heath England’s NaTHNaC and the relevant destination from the UK’s FCO.

Charity Challenge will continue to closely monitor events and provide updates as necessary.  It is important for Charity Challenge employees and its overseas partners, many of whom are small businesses or family owned enterprises whose livelihood relies entirely on the travel industry, that participants continue to travel as long as it is safe to do so.  Safety, however, will always come first.


Updated: 28th February

The Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread globally and the WHO provides good daily summary situation reports.  An aspect that doesn’t gain much media attention are the recovery rates which are slowly but steadily increasing; statistics which are good news given the levelling off (certainly in China) of the total caseload.  A good online interactive real time statistics dashboard has been produced by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, USA.              

Charity Challenge customers can continue to book trips with confidence, knowing that they are in safe hands. 

Currently there is no advice against travel to any of the destinations that Charity Challenge operates in, other than China. Imminent trips to China have already been postponed and challenges for later in the year are planned to run as normal; they are of course constantly under review.

If at any point a booking is affected such that Charity Challenge cannot provide the challenge itinerary in that country, customers will be offered the chance to postpone the challenge, to book on to another destination, or to receive a full refund.

Charity Challenge is committed to ensuring all its customers continue to remain in safe hands during this global outbreak.  Charity Challenge recognises that the situation is changing rapidly and is monitoring things very carefully. 


Updated: 31st January

ADVICE TO TRAVELLING PARTICIPANTS

Charity Challenge will continue to be directed by relevant government authorities regarding health and safety in connection to the coronavirus outbreak.  Currently, the only official UK government travel advisory (from the FCO) to avoid travel is to China and it is currently deemed safe to travel to all other Charity Challenge destinations.  Should that change, the groups and individuals affected will be contacted directly to discuss options and to make alternative arrangements.

All travelling participants, wherever they are going in the world, are requested to apply a high degree of awareness and common sense in the run up to, and during an expedition.   Charity Challenge is committed to not becoming a part of the problem!

Participants are requested to apply a high degree of self-regulation to avoid joining a trip as an infected individual and spreading it, and to avoid contracting or spreading it whilst overseas.  The following is advised:

Prior to Departure

Check the latest travel advisories in your home country and follow the guidelines carefully.  Authoritative advice for UK citizens can be found at NHS Scotland’s fitfortravel and Public Health England’s National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).  The advice and guidelines can sometimes be targeted at those travelling specifically to China but Charity Challenge considers these sensible precautions regardless of expedition destination.  

Limit your risk to exposure by avoiding people or places where risks of infection may be high.  Following your country’s official guidelines carefully will reduce your chances of unwittingly becoming a carrier. 

Do not join a trip if you feel ill or think you may have been exposed to the virus.   There are early reports that the virus can spread asymptomatically i.e. the virus may be transmitted to you via an infected individual who has no idea themselves that they are infected and who shows no signs or symptoms of being ill.  Please do not risk the health of your fellow expedition companions.

Ensure you have adequate health cover to ensure comprehensive cover should you fall ill prior to the trip and have to cancel or require medical support and /or evacuation on the trip itself.

Take extra hand cleansing products such as alcohol-based hand washes.  Currently there is insufficient evidence to support the use of face masks but that may change. If however, you feel more comfortable when transiting airports, you may consider wearing a face mask.

During the Expedition

Maintain extremely high hand and personal hygiene standards.  Hand washing with soap, water and clean towels regularly is the best and, where not available, use alcohol-based hand cleansers.  Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.

Avoid sharing personal items like drinking bottles

Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and their personal items

If you become unwell with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical attention through your Challenge Leader.  Follow all medical advice given.

On Return Home

Pay attention to your health on return, particularly over the first 14 days.

If you develop symptoms such as those mentioned above or any other ‘Flu like’ or respiratory illness during this period, follow your country’s guidelines carefully, which will likely suggest calling medical providers by telephone in the first instance for advice, to avoid inadvertently spreading the virus.  In England the advice is to call NHS 111 and explain your circumstances.

Inform Charity Challenge immediately if you develop symptoms so that others in the group can be informed, authorities contacted, and any control measures can swiftly be put into action.

Charity Challenge will continue to adhere to international guidelines and be directed by official government authorities.  Participants are advised to keep abreast of developments and apply caution.  Charity Challenge is confident that trips will be run safely and just request participants to play their part and help by following the guidelines carefully


Updated: 29th January

The outbreak continues to spread with confirmed case numbers and fatalities increasing, although mostly still limited to China; numbers outside China are generally still low and mostly single digit.  There are four cases in Europe: three in France and one in Germany.  There have now been reports of the first cases of domestic infection outside of China, in Japan and Germany.  Currently patients commonly present with mild illness although roughly 20% of patients suffer severe symptoms; its widely believed to still predominantly be a risk for the elderly or those with compromised health.

In what is now very much a globally coordinated effort to halt the spread the disease, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now advised against all but essential travel to mainland China

Furthermore, companies are independently responding, including suspending flights to China.  The global effort to address this emergency is phenomenal, particularly from China itself, and confidence in managing this epidemic is currently high.  The outlook is hard to predict but experts in China suggest that the epidemic could peak in as little as a week to 10 days.

Due to the new FCO advice against travel to China, Charity Challenge will be cancelling all trips to China that are due to depart over the next 2 months and remain confident that existing trips departing later in the year will remain unaffected. 

Groups and individuals whose challenges are affected by this cancellation are being contacted directly to discuss options and to make alternative arrangements.

This advisory will be updated regularly and should any developments in the situation seem likely to impact on challenges scheduled for later in the year, we will contact the relevant participants and groups immediately to discuss options.


Updated: 27th January

The novel (new) coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, outbreak is spreading as predicted with the first reportedly officially recognised cases in Europe reported in France on Friday 24th January from patients who had all travelled from Wuhan; the key factor being these were not transmissions from human to human within Europe, as is happening in China, although it is widely accepted as just a matter of time before this changes.

The number of confirmed cases in mainland China has reportedly risen to almost 3,000, including 81 fatalities.  At this stage the majority of deaths are still linked to either the elderly or those with pre-existing respiratory problems.

As the outbreak progresses the WHO continues to prepare, coordinate and update on a global level, and governments are responding accordingly.  The FCO have increased the restrictions and now advise against all travel to Hubei Province.

Charity Challenge continues to monitor the situation closely.


Original Advisory: 23rd January

Overview

Charity Challenge has been monitoring the latest developments with the China coronavirus outbreak which was first detected in late December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, a region which Charity Challenge groups do not visit.

As of 22 January there have been 440 cases and 9 fatalities officially reported, including 10 cases (but no fatalities) in Beijing, a city which does feature on Charity Challenge itineraries.  In addition, the virus has spread from infected individuals from Wuhan to Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case), the Republic of Korea (1 case), Taiwan (1 case) and the United States of America (1 case).  The virus is thought to be part of the wide family of diseases which includes the less severe common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which people recall from 2003. Current unverified reports suggest most of the fatalities have been amongst the elderly or those suffering from other chronic diseases.

It is currently too early to assess the impact this will have in China, regionally in SE Asia and globally and most authorities are waiting for more information upon which to make judgements.  The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently only advise against all but essential travel to Wuhan itself, and Public Health England state the risks to travellers to Wuhan itself is moderate and advise travellers there to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.  The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any restrictions to travel or trade and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), Fit For Travel and the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China are monitoring the situation closely and providing updates regularly.

What Charity Challenge is doing

The response by Charity Challenge will be very much dictated by the advice and instructions from higher national and international authorities.  

As a precautionary measure however, Charity Challenge is re-screening the medical declarations of all participants who are due to travel to China and countries in south-eastern Asia over the next 6 months, who may be at greater risk to respiratory illnesses.

With such a quickly evolving and dynamic event happening, it is too early to predict the outcome of this outbreak and undoubtedly there will be much discussion and development over the next few weeks / months.  We continue to monitor the major sources of reliable information such as the FCO and the WHO.

The first Charity Challenge trips to the region are not departing until late March and currently there is no reason to cancel or find alternative options for these trips.  Charity Challenge, along with their Chinese in-country partners who are already in contact, will continue to monitor the situation closely and should anything change that may impact on the safe delivery of the challenge, any affected groups will be contacted directly.

Participants should direct any concerns to Charity Challenge who have dedicated staff responsible for safety and security.

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