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World Athletics issues guidelines for competitions during COVID-19

By James Bakama

Added 19th June 2020 05:50 PM

As athletics prepares for the new season, its world body has issued guidelines to help competition organisers minimize the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.

World Athletics issues guidelines for competitions during COVID-19

As athletics prepares for the new season, its world body has issued guidelines to help competition organisers minimize the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.

Drafted by the World Athletics' Health and Science Department, the guidelines also address the post Corvid-19 peak period as described by WHO.

The guidelines target athletes, support staff, technical officials, workforce, volunteers, medical staff and media.

Although the guidelines don't address spectators, the WHO has produced a document and risk-assessment tools for mass gatherings.

Uganda Athletics Federation are in receipt of the guidelines, which they promised to adhere to.

Competition organisers are advised by the world body to undertake a four-point risk assessment for all accredited attendants.

If an individual scores two or higher, it is recommended that they should undergo a medical clearance protocol before the event.

A number of pre-event recommendations have also been included, with welcome desks organised by the Organising Committee at airports or railway stations set to provide each arrival with a welcome bag that includes single-use masks, bottles of hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and a leaflet to explain the health and safety protocols for that particular event.

Passengers must wear masks at all times when being transported to competition hotels, with organisers also encouraged to arrange and use a medical encounter registry, recorded on an electronic system, to facilitate identification and further contact tracing of potentially infected individuals.

At the stadium, spectators and accredited personnel should have two completely separate entrances.

Accredited personnel should only be granted access to the competition venue if wearing a face mask and in possession of personal hand sanitiser.

It is advised that face masks are worn by everyone in the stadium, with the exception of athletes when warming up or competing in their event.

If possible, warm-up zones will be large, open-air areas within a short walking distance of the competition stadium, with access strictly controlled.

During the competition, the number of people on the field of play should be kept to a minimum, and officials who will be coming into close contact with athletes should wear protective glasses or a plastic face shield, in addition to their mask.

Once athletes have crossed the finish line, they are asked to try and keep their distance from the public and officials.

After competition, media mixed zones will be outside if possible, and the number of people in the area should be kept to a minimum.

A screen is set to be placed between the athletes and the media, and cleaned after each interview, and separate interview boxes should be used if there are multiple positions.

Without screens, a safety dead zone of three metres should be adopted when journalists interview athletes, and masks should be used by both parties.

Live award ceremonies are not recommended, but alternative digital solutions are encouraged.

The guidelines also include specific instructions for each discipline.

World Athletics claims the document is "dynamic" and will be updated as more evidence and scientific-based knowledge becomes available.

Traditional athletics events have been called off due to the pandemic, with the governing body instead resorting to organising a behind-closed-doors Diamond League event primarily in Oslo.

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