The Sports Ministry has issued the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) for reopening of swimming pools outside the containment zones across the country in which one of the noticeable points is that not more than 20 swimmers will be allowed to train during one particular session at the Olympic-sized pool.
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 25/50 m 8 lane pools. Other than that, swimmers will be required to furnish "Obligatory self declaration" and residential trainees will have to submit a mandatory Covid-19 negative report before being allowed inside the premises.
The SOP, released on Friday, applies to all SAI and non-SAI centres wherein training of sportspersons may resume, provided no orders of the local authorities prohibit such facilities to resume operations.
"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.
According to the document, a Covid-19 negative report is a must for residential trainees. "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," it said.
"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," it added.
Moreover, athletes/coaches/facility staff who begin to cough/sneeze/above normal temperature for any reason, must move away from others until coughing/sneezing dissipates. "In case of above normal temperature, a coach or staff member should ask athletes, as they come into practice, specifically listing certain symptoms, and send home those athletes reporting illness or experiencing symptoms."
Use of Arogya Setu app shall be made mandatory for all athletes and staff at the centre, as per the SOP.
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 said.
"All personal training equipment belonging to an athlete shall be disinfected while the athlete is inducted into the training centre," it added.
The SOP 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.
"Athletes shall also perform hand-hygiene before and after use of all training equipment."
Additionally, swimming pool operators should have a dedicated officer responsible for Covid-19 considerations, making sure that they are up to date with central or local government recommendations.
A Covid Task Force will also be constituted at each training centre to guide and monitor all trainees, coaches and staff within the centres and it shall be responsible for overall implementation of protocols outlined in this SOP, as per the guidelines.
Also, while swimming, swimmers will be required to maintain a distance of at least six feet and not make physical contact with others or giving a high five. One also must avoid physical contact with other swimmers when taking a break. Coaches are advised to follow workouts to maintain basic fitness and endurance of the swimmers.
According to the guidelines, it would be the responsibility of the centre head and coach in-charge to ensure complete adherence to training protocols and to secure agreement from respective athletes that any training activity undertaken shall be in full compliance to the protocols mentioned in the SOP.