BOA await guidance amid Olympic Games doubts
Bermuda's athletes have been urged to “continue training as planned” amid uncertainty over the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The epidemic began in December in central China and since then has caused more than 80,000 people to become infected and killed some 2,700 worldwide, the vast majority of them in mainland China.
In Japan, officials say more than 200 people have become infected with the coronavirus and at least five people have died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The outbreak has disrupted global travel and trade and also forced the cancellation or postponement of many high-profile events, including several sporting events.
Global motorsports series Formula One and World Athletics have already called off some events. F1 cancelled its Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April 19, and World Athletics postponed its World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for March 13-15.
Earlier this week organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics dismissed speculation that the coronavirus epidemic could lead to the cancellation of the Summer Games.
Meanwhile, when contacted over the matter, Brenda Dale, the first vice-president of the Bermuda Olympic Association and chef de mission Tokyo 2020, said: “The IOC [International Olympic Committee] has recommended that all athletes continue training for the Olympics as planned. A decision will be made three months out from the Games. The BOA will be guided by the IOC.
“The IOC will make the decision in conjunction with the host city and international health officials.
“No athletes to date have raised concern over the virus.”
Dale also provided The Royal Gazette with a copy of a statement the IOC sent out to its member national Olympic committees concerning the coronavirus outbreak, which the BOA forwarded to all local National Sports Governing Bodies.
The IOC statement read: “In light of the current situation with the Novel Coronavirus 2019, and the cancellation of the first Beijing 2022 Test Event that was due to take place in February as well as other sport events, we would like to update you on the IOC's position. Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of plans to host a safe and secure Games and Test Events.
“The IOC is collaborating with the WHO, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Games Group public health experts as well as the relevant sport and government authorities, and carefully monitoring the development of this outbreak and advised countermeasures.
“The declaration by the World Health Organisation of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) was later than expected at least partly due to the open and robust response of the Chinese authorities.
“Although, at this stage, the actual risk to individual health of travel to Beijing and 2022 venues is low, there is a risk of significant travel disruption and consequently a number of sport events and meetings have been cancelled internationally.
“An increasing number of countries have instituted screening and quarantine measures for travellers arriving to their territories.
“Travelers with no symptoms or infection from countries with cases of 2019nCoV infection do not normally require any quarantine measures or restrictions under WHO guidelines.
However, restrictions may be imposed by local government and health authorities.”