Coronavirus / COVID-19 – a statement from Pi Wars

Updates

We will update this page should circumstances or advice about the virus change.

Michael Horne & Tim Richardson – 11th March 2020 (updated)

Introduction

Cases of COVID-19 (sometimes referred to as Coronavirus) were first reported in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Since then, further cases of the virus have been confirmed in countries all over the world, including a limited number in the UK.

At Pi Wars, we are aware of the threat that this virus poses and conscious that teams, especially schools, will want some information to aid with risk assessments and information to parents.

However, the UK government has currently placed no restrictions on the gathering of a large number of people, so we are intending to go ahead with the event. We cannot guarantee, however, that the UK government will not change their minds, depending on the progress of the disease.

International teams

We are proud to have so many countries represented competing at Pi Wars. Here is a list of regions that have participants coming to Cambridge:

  • Finland (11-Mar-2020 – withdrawn due to concerns about Coronavirus)
  • France (3-Mar-2020 – due to their location and recent holiday, on doctor’s advice, they have withdrawn from Pi Wars)
  • Germany
  • India – (11-Mar-2020 – doubtful due to concerns about Coronavirus)
  • Italy – (10-Mar-2020 – withdrawn due to country lockdown)
  • Malaysia
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • South Korea (3-Mar-2020 – withdrawn due to country lockdown)
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • USA

Malaysia

We have two teams from Malaysia attending the competition on the Saturday. The number of cases in Malaysia (despite being close to China) remains low. We are passing on existing advice to our Malaysian teams, which is detailed below.

Advice for all travellers to Pi Wars (foreign and domestic)

Please follow your government’s recommendations on travel and attending events such as Pi Wars.

Our advice (and our request) is that if you are at all symptomatic, please do not travel to the competition. Symptoms of the virus include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

You may not realise that you have the virus, as it does not become symptomatic for some days after you have caught it. Therefore, if you have been in contact with someone who either has the virus or has symptoms of the virus, we ask that you do not attend.

We also ask that you do not attend if you have recently returned from any of the countries listed below “Returning travellers” on this page.

On the days of the competition

As visitors to the event, we expect all attendees to practice good hygiene. This includes keeping your distance from each other (where possible!) and washing your hands regularly. We have requested that extra stocks of soap for the toilets is provided and this has been agreed to by the venue. We were hoping to get some hygiene sprays to scatter around the venue, but stocks are low – we are looking into where to get supplies.

Further reading

Latest information and advice for the public from the UK government

Common questions and answers from the NHS

Implications for visitors or returning travellers.

Conclusion

We are currently evaluating our options regarding the competition. On the one hand, we are very much looking forward to the competition, it has been a lot of work to get the event up-and-running and we know that most competitors still want to come to Cambridge. However, we are aware that some teams are already unable or unwilling to attend.

We are aware of our responsibility to our teams, volunteers and spectators in terms of health and safety. We remain committed to putting this above all other considerations and reserve the right to postpone the competition. We are also mindful that, as we are holding the event at a University, the decision may be taken out of our hands.