In light of the increasing concern related to the evolving coronavirus outbreak, it is important that athletes and officials that are preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games stay informed and understand how to best protect themselves from illness. This update is informed by information collated from the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and South African Health Authorities and includes direct extracts from previously published guidelines.
Situation Update: Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
According to the latest update provided by the IOC on 3 March 2020, preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games continues as scheduled. Athlete health and well-being remain a top priority for organisers, and extensive measures are in place to ensure that effective countermeasures against infectious diseases are implemented for the Games. A joint task force was created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and WHO. There is a multi-institutional approach to defining guidelines and best practice to ensure athlete and spectator safety. The IOC will keep supporting the athletes by providing the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website.
Situation Update: South Africa Risk Profile
On 5 March South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases confirmed the first positive test in the country. In the latest WHO situation report dated 4 March 2020, there were no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in South Africa but this is yet to be updated to reflect activities of 5 March.
Recommendations for International Travel
Athletes may encounter travel disruption as several countries and airlines around the world implement precautionary measures, including screening and quarantine measures. Travel restrictions to/from other countries are largely the result of decisions taken by the local national public health authorities. Such measures have impacted several international sport events around the world, and athletes are encouraged to check travel advices regularly and to consult with competition organisers for specific advisories and/or decisions prior to travel. National Olympic Committees are awaiting further clarity from the IOC/IPC about how this may or may not impact qualification for the Games.
In the interim, SASCOC advises that athletes who have already qualified for the Games should limit all non-essential travel, including travel for competitions or personal travel particularly to geographical locations at higher risk.
Preparation plans should provisionally be adapted so that athletes continue preparation in South Africa which is currently declared a low risk country.
Prevention of Illness
In terms of managing the spread of the virus, the following principles apply:
Do not act against any travel advice from the WHO, SA Department of Health or the relevant local authorities of the country you intend to visit.
The below is a useful youtube video from the WHO that gives more information about the coronavirus:
Issued by Team South Africa Medical Advisory Commission