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SAI upgrades SOP; Tells athletes to self-isolate for 15 days before joining camps

09:53 PM Sep 15, 2020 | PTI

New Delhi

Athletes who get the nod to train at the restarted national camps will have to undergo 15-day self-isolation before joining in, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced on Tuesday, upgrading the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to tackle the COVID-19 threat at its facilities.

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A six-member committee, headed by SAI secretary Rohit Bharadwaj, had in May formulated the original SOP for resumption of sporting activities across the country. National camps have resumed for boxing, athletics, and badminton among others after over five months of a shutdown.

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"The (upgraded) SOP is in continuation of the SOP released by SAI earlier, and includes procedural changes with regard to new trainees joining the training camps," a SAI statement read.

The upgraded SOP will apply to the ones who will join now or for the camps which will begin later.

Elimination of low-ventilation change rooms, disinfection of training equipment after every use, a bar on sparring in contact sports for now, and usage of gyms in shifts were some of the measures that SAI had formulated to tackle the virus threat earlier.

The key aspects of the upgraded SOP are related to testing and self-isolation.

The SAI said it will bear the expense of all the COVID-19 tests to be undertaken by athletes, coaches and support staff before joining the training camps.

All camp-bound athletes will be told to self-isolate 15 days prior to travelling and would also be required to produce a self-declaration in this regard.

"All the athletes, coaches and support staff have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR test for COVID-19, 96 hours before travelling to the centres and would be allowed to enter the centre on production of COVID-19 negative certificate," the SAI said.

"If the athlete, coach or support staff is unable to undergo the test before travelling, due to unavoidable reason he/she shall be tested through an RT-PCR test immediately on arrival," it added.

The SAI also said that all athletes and coaches will have to undergo a week's mandatory quarantine period upon their arrivals for camps.

"...only athletes, coaches and support staff who are found negative for COVID-19 on retesting through RT-PCR on 6th day of quarantine after reaching the camp, would be allowed to resume sports activity after a total quarantine period of seven days.

"However, these athletes should not mingle with the athletes, coaches, support staff who are already in the bio-bubble/secure training environment from before, for a further period of 7 more days," the SAI said.

"...any athlete/coach/support staff who is found positive for COVID-19, the standard protocol as prescribed by the Government of India, state government, SAI SOP, and the local bodies, would be followed."

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