Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your Challenge

Last updated 17:00  11th October 2021

We fully appreciate you may have questions about the potential impact of Coronavirus on your fundraising and the challenge itself.

From 4am on Monday 11th October, both Kenya and Tanzania will no longer be listed on the UK's travel red list meaning that travel has reopened and there is no requirement for hotel quarantine on return to the UK.

 

Nonetheless for your peace of mind, we continue to offer the full assurance that everyone who registers for one of our challenges will be able to defer to a future year for any reason and at no additional cost as long as you request this before your final fundraising deadline.

 

We are here to support you every step of the way. It is our aim to ensure that everyone who registers for these challenges can do so with confidence that there are measures in place to enable you to realise your ambitions in spite of these unprecedented times. 

Here is a summary of why you can have full 'COVID Confidence' in realising your ambition to conquer your challenge with us:

  • We will offer fee-free deferral in the unlikely event that the trip is postponed and arrange replacement dates

  • We will ask all participants to follow government safety protocols to protect their fellow group members before they leave the UK

  • If necessary our local suppliers will assist in arranging COVID testing in-country in line with the appropriate travel protocols

  • We will only use private transportation in-country

  • We will manage group sizes and group sub-divisions to minimise contact exposure wherever this is possible

  • Our local crews will adopt international standards in regards to avoiding physical contact except when this is a safety requirement and only with PPE

  • Scroll down for full details.

 

We hope to answer any further questions you have with our FAQs below but if you have any additional queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us on support@digdeep.org.uk

You can also keep up to date yourself with the FCO travel advice for Kenya and Tanzania via the respective links.

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Simon Franklin

Operations and Mass Participation Event Manager

simon@digdeep.org.uk

07775037839

BEN cropped.jpg

Ben Skelton

Chief Executive

ben@digdeep.org.uk

0114 360 1471

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Harriet Brass

Event and Community Fundraising Officer

harriet@digdeep.org.uk

07939323224

We are continuing to monitor the situation in East Africa, taking advice from both government sources and a varied team of specialist consultants to ensure the safety of yourself and all local ground staff throughout your trip. This includes:

 

  1. Regular monitoring of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice to ensure your destination is listed as safe to travel.

  2. Monitoring of the entry requirements of your destination to ensure that they are reasonable and will not significantly impair your itinerary.

  3. Taking advice from a varied team of specialist consultants on the standard operating procedures and risk assessments to be implemented throughout your challenge to ensure the safety of everyone concerned.

12 weeks prior to your departure we will send you your finalised COVID-19 safety guide. The exact measures being used will depend on the guidance at the time but will follow the principles set out below.

How you will be kept safe on your challenge

Measures in place

Pre-departure & Vaccination Status


We ask all participants to:

  • complete the pre-departure and medical declaration form at least 6 weeks prior to your trip (this will be sent to you approx 3 months before your trip) and be declared fit to take on the challenge by a medical professional.
  • have adequate travel insurance in place that covers you for emergency medical expenses, repatriation, additional accommodation and transport costs due to illness (including Covid-19) whilst abroad on your challenge and pre-departure cover for if you are unable to travel due to you, or travel companion, being diagnosed with Covid-19 or requirement to self-isolate as part of Test and Trace protocols.
  • follow government protocols in place at the time of travel and in line with your personal vaccination status. The UK Government have announced that from the end of October 2021, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take a test before returning or have PCR tests on return to the UK from non red-list countries.
  • take your own personal supply of hand sanitiser/antibacterial gel and face masks/face coverings to last you for the duration of your trip.

These responsibilities will help to ensure the safety of you, the other members of your group and everyone involved in your challenge.




In country support team


  • Regardless of local regulations and social distancing practices in East Africa now or at the time of the trip, our ground crews will be following and implementing the measures outlined below for the safety of everyone involved. We request that you adhere to their guidance and follow the appropriate measures to protect yourself and those around you.
  • For that extra piece of mind you will have a UK qualified medical professional accompanying you on your trip. They will be there to assist you with any medical issue that arises whilst on your challenge and work in tandem with your trained ground staff to implement Coronavirus safety measures.
  • There will also be members of the UK Dig Deep team present should further assistance be required.




Staggered climb start dates


We have staggered our climb dates so that your transport and reserved camping area will only be shared with your own climb group thus minimising the number of people you will be in contact with.




Group dynamics


  • Handshakes/Hugging/Kissing and the sharing of water bottles or water bladders between participants is to be avoided at all times.
  • We may also implement a ‘buddy up’ system to ensure that during specific activities where you are required to be within 2 meters of someone for a more substantial period of time, this is always the same person. These activities include:
  • Sharing a tent at camp
  • Sitting next to each other during travel
  • Sitting next to each other at mealtimes




Safe trekking


Your head guide will have the sole responsibility for controlling the flow of participants and minimising interactions with trekkers/crew from other groups so it is important that you listen to and follow your head guides instructions at all times. These will include measures such as:

  • dividing into sub-groups
  • trek start times to avoid busy periods
  • selecting suitable locations/times for a break.
There is generally space for people to maintain distance during trekking and breaks. However, there will also be times when crew members need to be physically close to climbers for safety reasons which would take precedence over maintaining social distance. For example:
  • Barranco Wall - guides need to spot clients up the scrambling sections and offer physical support where necessary.
  • Summit Night - guides may need to assist climbers with self-care such as drinking, eating and adjusting clothing. Particularly on the descent climbers often need some physical support.
  • Medical Assessment - during daily medical checks of temperature and oxygen levels, maintaining distance is not always possible however masks and gloves will be worn.
  • Evacuation - in the unlikely event evacuation is required this will inevitably involve close contact
You will be allocated a numbered tent and sleeping mat which you will use for the duration of your climb. The same crew member will also be responsible for carrying your trekking bag throughout.




Transport


Due to the varied terrain encountered on our challenges, various types of vehicles are required including mini-buses and 4x4 off-road vehicles/jeeps and therefore social distancing is not always possible when travelling. For everyone’s safety when travelling, we will implement the following measures:

  • We only use private transport for all in country journeys so you will only be sharing with your own climb group members.
  • Vehicles will be cleaned thoroughly before and after each trip
  • Hand sanitiser will be provided for use on entry and exit.
  • All vehicles will have windows open for the duration of the journey to ensure good ventilation.
  • Masks will need to be worn throughout the journey (unless medically exempt).
  • You will sit in the same seat on each journey and be seated next to your tent-mate.




At camp


Your camp will have an area reserved specifically for your own climb group only to minimise interactions with the general public. Depending on guidance at the time of travel we will also implement the following:

  • Increased cleaning regimes in communal areas and disinfectants/sanitisers used on key touch points.
  • Challenge briefings completed in an open outdoor space to cater for social distancing with staff delivering the briefing wearing PPE as necessary.
  • Face masks encouraged to be worn at all times around communal areas unless eating and drinking or medically exempt.
  • One-way systems will be put in place where necessary.




Mealtimes


Depending on the guidance at the time of travel we may implement the following measures:

  • There will be no buffet style dining to avoid congestion
  • Mealtimes staggered to aid social distancing.
  • Meals will be held in an outdoor space where possible.
  • There will be an additional mess tent to aid social distancing.
  • All cooks and waiters will follow strict hygiene protocols and wear appropriate PPE
  • Everyone will be asked to sanitise their own seating area following their meal so that it is ready for the next person.
  • Hand sanitiser will be provided at entry and exit of the dining area.
  • You may be asked to bring your own set of camping cutlery, plate/bowl and mug.




What happens if me or someone in my group falls ill or shows COVD-19 symptoms whilst on the challenge?


  • It is important that every participant declares any illness or symptoms immediately to the head guide or medical professional so timely and appropriate treatment can be given.
  • If you or another member of your group displays or reports symptoms of COVID-19 your supplier staff will liaise with your group medic to ensure that you and the rest of your group are safe.
  • This may involve isolating the affected participant from the group and transferring the affected participant to a medical facility to receive the appropriate treatment if necessary.




Additional travel pre/post climb


  • We are only able to apply these safety standards to the elements of your trip that are our responsibility. This includes your climb, your time in the nearby accommodation prior to and after your climb, and your airport transfers (if you choose to use these).
  • We cannot guarantee that these standards will be applied to any additional travel or activities that you undertake, including packages booked with your respective climb supplier (e.g. your stay in a tourist hotel in Zanzibar).
  • Please direct any questions about additional travel/activities to your relevant supplier.




COVID-19 measures in Tanzania


  • At the time of writing there are currently no Coronavirus restrictions e.g. social distancing in place in Tanzania.
  • Your ground staff and mountain crew have been already trained in safe practices related to the pandemic and already have COVID-19 standard operating procedures in place.
  • These will include appropriate plans to avoid crowded public places and limit contact with members of the public.
  • However, you should understand that this will not always be possible i.e. at the mountain gates, airports, camp toilets and you therefore need to be vigilant and take appropriate measures to protect yourself such as wearing your face mask/covering and using hand sanitiser.




Difference in health care standards


  • You should be aware that the standard of health care in East Africa is lower than what you are used to in the UK. There is no national health service and there is very limited availability of mechanical ventilators across the country.
  • Should you require any medical treatment, you may be charged by the local hospital, ward or clinic in the first instance and will then need to reclaim these costs on your travel insurance
  • Please note that hospitals do not provide food or basic personal items such as loo roll, but that our local teams will be there to support you with these type of necessities in the unlikely event this is required.
  • It is therefore crucial that your travel insurance covers you for medical expenses including COVID-19 so you can reclaim any costs should they be incurred.




Our free deferral guarantee


  • For your peace of mind, we continue to offer the full assurance that everyone who registers for one of our challenges will be able to defer to a future year for any reason and at no additional cost as long as you request this before your final fundraising deadline.
  • As part of this deferral, everyone will automatically be granted a minimum of a 6 month extension to reach their first fundraising deadline for 50% of their minimum fundraising target (for example, if your first fundraising deadline was meant to be in March it would be moved back to September) and the final minimum fundraising target for the full amount will be moved to 8 weeks prior to your new trip date.
  • In the event you are unable to do one of the new suggested dates we will work with you to find an alternative. This could include deferring for an extra year or using your fundraising to cover or count towards an alternative Dig Deep organised challenge such as Mount Kenya, Walk for Water or Property Dash. It is unfortunately not possible for Dig Deep to refund donations.




COVID-19 safe fundraising


Our fundraisers have shown that fundraising can still thrive despite the current restrictions and we have lots of ways in which you can hear about and implement COVID-19 friendly fundraisers.

  • See our Virtual Fundraising guide which is a collection of our favourite innovative ideas that will help inspire your fundraising during these unprecedented times.
  • Tune in to our monthly virtual drop-in sessions with Harriet your Fundraising Support Officer
  • Attend our monthly “Challenges Chin Wags” where fundraisers come together to talk you through their own successful fundraising ideas and top tips.
  • If you are worried about hitting your target we are here to help. Contact one of us and we promise to help you find a way through your concerns and put you at ease. You can book a call here.