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ICANN wants to take your temperature before letting you into ICANN 67

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2020, 20:50:44 (UTC), Domain Policy

Face masks, hand-sanitizer stations, and nurses taking your temperature on the doors… these are some of the measures ICANN plans to deploy at its upcoming public meeting in Cancun next month, in an effort to mitigate the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak.

That’s assuming the meeting goes ahead at all, which is still undecided.

Speaking to community leaders in a teleconference this evening, ICANN staffers outlined the following precautionary measures they expect to put in place:

  • A doctor from International SOS will be on site, alongside the usual two medics.
  • A team of nurses will be deployed at the venue’s two entrances to check attendees’ temperatures (via the forehead, you’ll be pleased to hear) as they enter the building.
  • “Anyone registering a fever will be escorted to the doctor for assessment.”
  • ICANN is “stockpiling” face masks and is already shipping some to the venue. This is complicated by the global supply shortage. Attendees will be encouraged to source their own before leaving home.
  • Hand sanitizer facilities will be dotted around, particularly at large meeting rooms and outside bathrooms.
  • A Mexican familiar with the local public health service will be available.
  • It will be up to the local Mexican authorities to determine how to respond to a confirmed case. It’s not particularly clear what the policy would be on quarantine and the dreaded “cruise ship scenario”. There have been no cases in Mexico yet.

The temperature checks will be daily. One would assume that people leaving the venue for lunch, or a cigarette or something will be checked more frequently.

ICANN has yet to decide whether the meeting is going to go ahead. Its board of directors will meet on Wednesday to make a call, but CEO Göran Marby noted that should the situation with Covid-19 change there’s always the possibility it could be cancelled at a later date.

The meeting could also be cancelled if a large enough number of ICANN support staff refuse to go.

Some companies have already informed ICANN that they won’t be sending employees to the meeting. Marby said that if it looks like only 600 or 700 people are going to show up, the meeting probably won’t go ahead.

Governmental Advisory Committee chair Manal Ismail said on the call that only 30 GAC members have so far indicated that they’re going to attend. That’s about half of the usual level, she said.

If it were to be cancelled, the meeting would go ahead online. All ICANN meetings allow remote participation anyway, but ICANN has been prepping for the possibility that its online tools will need much greater capacity this time.

The audio recording of the call can be found here. Thanks to Rubens Kuhl for the link.

Are you going to go to Cancun, or will you cancel due to Covid? Let me know in the comments.

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Comments (8)

  1. Iliya Bazlyankov says:

    Going to be there for sure. 🙂 No virus can scare me.

  2. I’m going regardless. I’ve got a holiday planned before the meeting anyway.

  3. Katarine Gevorgyan says:

    I’m going for sure. And I’m selected as ICANN fellow and excited to be there. Very hope nothing will be canceled.

  4. Snoopy says:

    This could be a good opportunity to to do some cost cutting. No reason why most of these meetings couldn’t be done online.

    The “stockpiling” of facemarks that are in short supply is a disgrace.

  5. John Berryhill says:

    The inherent stupidity of taking forehead temperature measurements on people who have just walked inside from the sun is, of course, lost on people who don’t understand the measurement technique in question.

  6. Vittorio Bertola says:

    Of course I plan to be there, and I would find a cancellation at this (late) point in time totally unjustified (unless an out-of-control outbreak happens in Mexico, which is presently not the case).

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