A maximum of 20 swimmers can train during one particular session in an Olympic-sized swimming pool is among the notable points in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Sports Ministry on Friday for opening of swimming pools outside the containment zones. Other than that, swimmers will also need to furnish “Obligatory self declaration” and residential trainees will have to submit a mandatory COVID-19 negative report before being allowed inside the premises.
As per SOP, a maximum of 20 swimmers can train in a pool size of 50 M-10 lane, while 16 swimmers are permitted in 25 M/ 50 M 8 lane pools. The Sports Ministry on Friday released the SOP for resumption of training in swimming pools after consultation with Home and Ministry off Health and Family Welfare. As per the SOP, it is the responsibility of the centre head and coach in-charge to ensure complete adherence to training protocols. “Obligatory self-declaration (could be in the form of text message) of the infection-free condition by players and staff re-joining the centre shall be provided to COVID Task Force officers before entering the premises,” the document states.
After being shut since March to contain the deadly virus, swimming pools across the country were finally allowed to reopen for training of sportspersons from October 15 in areas outside containment zone. The SOP applies to all Sports Authority of India (SAI) and non-SAI centres wherein training of sportspersons may resume, provided no orders of the local authorities prohibit from reopening such facilities. For residential trainees, a COVID-19 negative report is a must. “For residential trainees, they need to produce a negative COVID Report 72 hour/96 hours before arrival to the centre followed by 14 days quarantine period. On the 6th/7th Day of quarantine period, another COVID Test must be conducted. Thereafter, trainees can mix with the other quarantined trainees only and not with other trainees staying in the campus. Only after completing 7 more days, they can mix with other trainees.”
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the opening of swimming pools to be used for training of Sportspersons
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The SOP applies to competitive swimmers, coaches and support staff besides staffs of the facilities. “All personal training equipment belonging to an athlete shall be disinfected while the athlete is inducted into the training centre. Athletes and staff shall be screened before being allowed access to common field-of-play/training facilities. RT-PCR test shall be conducted for new/returning athletes.” It also bars residential athletes from sharing soaps, towels and any other utility in common shower areas. Besides, spitting and clearing of nasal/respiratory secretions on the pool especially during swimming or at any place within the facility other than toilets shall be prohibited. The swimmers will also need perform hand-hygiene before and after use of all training equipment.
The usage of Arogya Sethu app has also been made mandatory. Among other guidelines, a COVID Task Force need to be constituted at each training centre to guide and monitor all trainees, coaches and staff within the centres. The Task Force shall be responsible for overall implementation of protocols outlined in this SOP. The Task Force shall work closely with the coaches and support staff to define guidelines and protocols to conduct the training in the COVID environment. The SOP also outlines dos and donts before, during and after swimming besides general sanitisation guidelines for common areas and personal hygiene.