England Athletics: Coronavirus Statement (updated 11 March)
Coronavirus Statement: last updated 11 March at 9am
The health and safety of the England Athletics family, whether you’re a member, volunteer or member of staff, is our main priority, particularly with both indoor and outdoor events planned across the country.
Based on current government advice, there are currently no plans to cancel, postpone or otherwise change any of the national, regional or local competition and events England Athletics delivers. However, several international events have been postponed and it is likely that some UK events will also be cancelled over the coming weeks and we will keep you updated as the situation evolves.
As a result, England Athletics has elected to not send any teams out to international competitions for the time being: Northern Ireland and Ireland are exempt from this decision. This decision will be reviewed again in early April.
The safety and wellbeing of all athletes and personnel travelling on an England Athletics trip is of paramount concern to England Athletics. Our key reference point is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and the adoption of any guidance around travel and mitigation of potential risk to anyone associated with an England Team or event. England Athletics will continually update this advice if and when it changes.
For further information on specific England Teams please contact Andy Day, Head of Competition firstname.lastname@example.org or Martin Rush, Head of Coaching and Athlete Development email@example.com.
Events in England
All events in England delivered by England Athletics including the indoor championships this weekend will go ahead, unless otherwise advised, and we would like to reassure all competitors, officials, coaches, staff and spectators that we are taking all possible precautions.
We are working with all venues to ensure that they are also taking sensible wellbeing measures. A statement reiterating government advice will be read out at all events and posted at entry points where possible:
“As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, England Athletics would like to ensure that all competitors, officials, coaches, staff and spectators are aware of the following advice from Public Health England (PHE) recommending that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. See hand washing guidance
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- athletes and runners are entitled, should they wish, not to shake hands or have any other form of physical contact with their opponents or officials
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, have a high temperature or cough, please return and stay at home and call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. Further information is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.
Please return home, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptoms:
- anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March
- specific areas in northern Italy in the last 14 days
- Iran in the last 14 days
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
- Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days
Please return home, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:
- Italy (outside specific areas in northern Italy) before 9 March
- mainland China outside of Hubei province
- South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan
- Hong Kong
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Thank you for your understanding.”
Your preparation as an Athletics and Running Club
Many athletics and running clubs are considering their contingency planning including risk assessments and the following may help shape your approach. There should be no presumption that one stage will automatically lead to the next, but it’s sensible to think about the different scenarios that may emerge:
A – As you are
Our current state: There’s no need to cancel or postpone your events at this time. Reassure your athletes, stakeholders and customers, building on the Public Health England principles above. Examine your insurance policies to see what cover you may have should the situation evolve. Remain mindful of guidance on infection control in the workplace (catch it, kill it, bin it). Take sensible steps to discourage individuals work with flu-like symptoms from coming to a club or an event.
B – Behind closed doors
If the government finds it necessary to curb travel or large gatherings of people this will mean that you will need to cancel competitions and reconsider holding club events If the decision is taken to continue with an event or competition, determine the minimum number of people required to safely stage an event and how you would ensure their wellbeing and manage logistics.
C – Cancellation, curtailment, or postponement
If the government finds it necessary to impose restrictions which make staging an event or providing a service impossible, consider how you would resolve your remaining fixtures and conclude your competition, workforce health permitting. Consider how you would deal with cancelled club sessions, membership, event tickets etc.
We would like to draw the attention of anyone who attends any athletics or running event or activity to the following general advice:
If you are considering attending an athletics or running event in any capacity and have recently returned to the UK from overseas, particularly the affected parts of the world, we would like to draw your attention to the following advice from the UK Government.
The Government has published an action plan to contain the possible spread of the virus. This advises: There is presently no rationale to close or cancel sporting events, but this may change as the situation evolves. Anyone with flu-like symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering.
For those hosting sporting events, whatever their size, attendees and participants should stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus.
As the situation progresses, we might advise the frail, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions to stay away from gatherings as part of general advice aimed at minimising unnecessary contact with others.
For those travelling to sporting events overseas, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be followed and travellers should note that apart from the countries and territories named in that advice, the government isn’t presently advising against travel to anywhere else.
For those who offer community and leisure services, such as running a local athletics club, hand hygiene should be strongly promoted and encouraged, and equipment and facilities should be thoroughly cleaned and wiped down as usual following use.
Nevertheless, we are aware that the coronavirus outbreak is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation. We are in regular contact with UKA, Sport England and runbritain to monitor the situation as well as continuing to follow advice from Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and both local and national government on this matter. The government is planning to publish specific advice on sporting events in due course. As you are well aware, guidance may change in response to events, so please keep a close eye on Gov.uk and we will also keep you updated here too.