Athletes looking to travel to Birmingham for the upcoming Commonwealth Games will need to produce negative COVID-19 test results before competing in the English city, it has been confirmed.
Britain has removed all coronavirus entry rules for travellers, but Birmingham 2022 has told insidethegames that those attending the Games will need to undergo testing in a bid to reduce the threat of COVID-19.
According to Birmingham 2022, all athletes and officials are required to take a polymerase chain reaction test before travelling to Birmingham and then another upon arrival at the Games.
Several recommendations are also being made by Birmingham 2022 to ensure “everyone has the best possible chance of attending and enjoying the Games.”
Among those include social distancing, increasing ventilation, maintaining personal hygiene, minimising physical contact, avoiding staying for “unnecessarily long periods of time in crowded areas” and wearing masks “in indoor settings while in close proximity to athletes and on Games transport.” It is also recommended that participants who have developed COVID-19 symptoms stay in their accommodation and avoid contact with others.
The measures come against a backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in England, with an estimated one in 25 people having coronavirus in the last week of June.
Like the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, COVID-19 countermeasures for Birmingham 2022 have been set out in playbooks.
It is understood that versions of the playbook have already been sent out to athletes and officials with further documents due to be issued to the media and other stakeholders.
Birmingham 2022 said it had been monitoring the situation over the past couple of years since the onset of the pandemic and learned from other major sporting events staged against the backdrop of the global health crisis.
The measures are said to be based upon advice and recommendations from the Games’ COVID-19 Advisory Group.
According to Birmingham 2022, the group found that the Games were at a “low” risk of spreading COVID-19 after completing the World Health Organization’s mass gathering risk assessment.
It cited Birmingham 2022 and partners’ overall mitigation strategy as being a significant factor in reducing the risk as well as the vaccination uptake in the country and in the teams attending the Games.
The COVID-19 Advisory Group features representatives from Birmingham 2022, the British Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Associations, the UK Health Security Agency, Birmingham City Council and a range of specialist doctors, public health specialists and epidemiologists.
Around 5,000 athletes from 72 nations and territories are due to compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held from July 28 to August 8.