UPDATED 13 MARCH 2020
We want to reassure our athletes, coaches, technical officials and members that we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation and possible impact on our people.
As the situation is constantly evolving, the most up to date advice and information pertaining to high performance environments can be found at the AIS webpage, dedicated to providing evidence based, real time advice in a number of areas, including travelling to sporting events, athletes arriving or returning to Australia, and FAQ’s relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
The website also links to other sources of information including the Australian Government Department of Health and WHO situation reports.
In addition to this information, we ask all athletes, coaches, technical officials and staff to follow these further guidelines in order to keep the swimming community as healthy as possible during this period of time.
We have made the conservative decision to close our offices for the next two weeks and have staff work from home, as well as cancelling all non-essential domestic and international travel.
This decision is based on the fact that our priority is to keep out member healthy and that we are a very mobile team, always travelling and working between offices, squads and states. Certainly, our risk of transmission is significant as we continue to move around the country.
We ask that you remain vigilant and limit your interaction with the community if:
- You or a family member has had ‘close contact’ with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Please note that ‘close contact’ is defined as having greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.
- You or family member is unwell with cold or flu like symptoms (these include collective symptoms such as fever, breathing difficulties such as breathlessness, cough, sore throat, fatigue or tiredness.).
- You or family member is currently ‘self-isolating’ due to suspected COVID-19 infection.
- You or family member is currently being tested or has been confirmed as having COVID-19
You or family member has recently visited countries (last 14 days) described as ‘higher risk’ by the Australian Government. Please note that this continues to change on a daily basis. https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
If in any doubt, please err on the side of caution as much as possible.
In addition, we ask everyone to practice high levels of hygiene health (washing hands, sanitizer etc) which are widely considered by health experts to be key to disease prevention and management. We also ask that we avoid physical contact (shaking hands etc). We want to circumvent as much as possible a situation where we can spread any virus, or one where we have high numbers of people needing to isolate at the same time.
We have also made the difficult decision to cancel the Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Championships and Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships.
This decision was based on the health and safety of the swimming community and their wider families.
We understand that there will be significant disappointment for our swimmers who have put in so much time and effort to be in peak condition for this event, but these are unprecedented times and the welfare and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, technical officials, members and their families is paramount and at the centre of our decision-making.
This is a constantly evolving situation and we are already seeing substantial and widespread event cancellations and postponements worldwide.
We appreciate that there are families that have made or are needing to make travel arrangements to head to Perth, so we wanted to give them as much time as possible to amend these plans if possible and provide certainty.
We understand that this may have a negative financial impact for families and are sorry for this. We will return the entry fees but know this is only a small part of the cost.
In the wake of cancellation of these events, our high performance team is currently looking at options for selection of our Junior Pan Pacific Championship and Oceania Championship teams and will advise our swimming community in the coming weeks.
Keeping with current government advice, there are no plans to change State or local events of less than 500 people that are currently happening, but these events will be carefully reviewed daily by State organisations.
There’s been much speculation around the Olympics and Paralympics and if these events will go ahead. At this stage, it is still a ‘business as usual’ approach to our preparation for these campaigns.
Keeping our community healthy over the next few months is the aim and athlete, coach, TO and staff wellbeing paramount. While it is an uncertain time, we will look to take a conservative approach in this matter and are working closely with our medical experts and organisations such as the Australian Olympic Committee, the AIS / Sport Australia, Paralympics Australia and others to ensure that we have the latest information to share with our community.
We thank everyone in advance and will continue to provide information as it comes to hand.
Please find out full statement regarding the cancellation of our events here.
CEO – Swimming Australia