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:
Surge testing: with the threat of new variants cropping up in the UK, athletes will be aware that when a new variant is detected, there will be mass surge PCR testing often in that postcode area and the surrounding area. Government advice is that if you are resident in, work in or pass through those postcodes you are strongly advised to have a PCR test immediately. These can either be delivered to your home, done on your doorstep or at a local mobile unit.
A list of ‘green countries’ has been announced – countries which carry no requirement to quarantine upon return from a training camp or competition. You are expected to have a negative PCR test prior to departure and a negative PCR/lateral flow test prior to return (often your CMO will arrange this for you) and then a day 2 PCR test after return. More information here.
For amber countries, returning athletes and staff will still be subjected to Government day 2 and day 8 PCR testing and restricted to their homes and sporting places of work. There may be a change in the near future to lateral flow testing instead of PCR in this instance. Many NGBs are also doing testing additional to the Government requirements, so please check with your CMO on your sport’s additional testing regime.
Please be aware that there are random telephone checks taking place on athletes and staff by Public Health England to insure there is compliance with Government regulations.
The EIS is still holding to the policy of athletes and staff returning from abroad preferably staying away from multi-sport shared indoor sites for 5 days to reduce the risk of cross infection with other athletes – particularly applicable to summer sports in the lead up to the Tokyo Games.
Finally, remember that we have observed the average duration of absence from training after a COVID infection is 18 days, so – for summer sport athletes – take all the precautions you can in the lead up to the Tokyo Games.