Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the English Institute of Sport and BAC Board member, has provided an update on COVID-19, and associated issues, for athletes:
The Government has set out a roadmap to national recovery following the current lockdown. The Government position is still that international travel is not advised and travel abroad for sports remains very challenging with both operational and health risks. There are 33 countries on the ‘red list’, where quarantining is mandatory for 10 days in a Government-approved hotel on return. You cannot ‘test and release’ from this after five days.
The national vaccination campaign has been a huge success to date. At the time of writing, the Government position is that professional sport, Olympic and Paralympic athletes and staff vaccination schedules will be in line with the national campaign. The Government has promised that all adults will be vaccinated at least once by the end of July, but it is likely that this date will come forwards.
COVID-19 clusters: to date there has been no evidence of transmission between athletes and support staff. However this is mainly because policies on keeping sites bio secure are working with social distancing, PPE and hand washing, as well as the exclusion of athletes from shared sites for five days after travel and a newly instituted targeted lateral flow testing (LFT) in EIS staff. Some NGBs are conducting LFT after foreign trips, and are doing so at a frequency that the travel dictates.
It is still important to emphasise that if an athlete gets COVID-19 then one in three will miss at least 30 days of training – a potentially significant impact on Tokyo/Beijing preparation. Continue to do everything you can to avoid COVID-19: wear a mask, wash your hands, stay at least two metres away from anyone and, if you are training indoors, train in a well-ventilated space.