Re: What does Israel/Local Authorities say about DC20?
As a member of the local DC20 team, I thought I might weight in on where
On 22/05/2020 19:43, Sam Hartman wrote:
[I hope someone on the DebConf team side is willing to summarize the
results of this discussion to debian-vote]
I've read the debian-vote discussion, and I wanted to make sure our
voice is heard. Not because I think our opinion is drastically different
than opinions already voiced, but because I get the feeling some people
think it might be.
I'm speaking for myself here, but the matter was, in fact, discussed,
both inside the local team and with the rest of the organizers.
First, the situation in Israel: The ministry of Health has a Telegram
channel where they publish, twice a day, statistics about the pandemic.
These include, among other things, the number of tests done, number of
people tested positive, and the number of people who have recovered from
the disease. Due to my own background health issues, I follow those
numbers closely. The information posted on the conference Wiki's FAQ was
produced by me, and I have been producing this graph for almost two
months now. I have also been socially isolating for two weeks by the
time that was the official instruction.
Please rest assured: if it will not be safe to attend the conference,
*I* will not attend it, despite helping to organize it. I will also not
want to have a conference in Israel and not attend it (I am a DD for
over a decade and have not been able to attend a single conference so
far). As such, if the conference is likely to not be able to move
forward, or not be able to do so safely, I'll be first in line to call
for its postponement.
As of now, the Pandemic seems to be under control in Israel. Maybe due
to the weekend the MoH has not released numbers tonight, but over the
past three nights before daily new infections were 16, 6 and 18. 98 new
infections over the whole last week. If you'll look at the graph posted
at the Wiki FAQ, the downward trend is clearly visible.
Now these numbers might change. At the beginning of the week (Israel
work week is Sunday-Thursday) schools came back into almost normal
operating mode. This means that a completely plausible scenario is that
infection rate will start to rise again. We will know that to a fairly
high degree of certainty two weeks after that, or about a week from today.
There was a question about reaching out to the authorities. Our main
contacts were with the Ministry of Interior, in charge of handling Visa
requests, and not the Ministry of Health. We did reach out to them, and
so far have not heard back. It seems that the "preparing an
international conference" handbook completely neglected to mention the
possibility of a global pandemic, and we did not prepare MoH contacts. A
few unofficial talks I've had leads me to conclude what I would have
guessed anyways: No one who knows anything about this virus is willing
to predict anything three months ahead.
Some people mentioned a quarantine requirement. At least as far as I,
personally, see the conference planning, I see no difference between not
allowing residents of a certain country into Israel and requiring a two
weeks quarantine. If we foresee that to remain the requirement, I would
consider an international conference to be impossible.
Which leads us where the local team stands on this issue. The consensus
with the local team is that our decision of choice *at this point in
time* is to postpone the conference, and accordingly also the 2021 and
2022 conferences, by one year. Obviously, this is a solution that
requires a buy in from the general Debian leadership, as well as from
the local teams for those years.
While this is the consensus, there is really no point in making a final
call on the matter before the absolute deadline arrives. It is much
easier to cancel late than to restart a conference once it is cancelled.
New infections reactions to re-opening the schools is one example of
datum that will be available to us in two weeks, but is not available now.
So we hold off with making a final call. I understand that, from the
outside, this might look like we are trying to push forward with
organizing a conference that simply cannot come to pass. This long email
was my humble attempt at trying to convince you that is not the way
So I would like to add my voice to what Jonathan and others have said:
Martin and everyone else: Please wait with putting up a GR asking to
override our judgement call until _after_ we've actually made that call.