MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) ordered the evacuation of national athletes in its facilities as the coronavirus was declared a pandemic on Thursday, March 12.
Except for the athletes still preparing for qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, all national team members in senior and junior levels have been ordered to go home as all dormitories need to be vacated as part of the PSC’s prevention plan.
“We have to be pro-active in this situation and take these hard decisions for the safety of our athletes and employees,” said PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez during the management committee meeting on Thursday, March 12.
Some of the national team members billeted in the dormitories are from boxing, weightlifting, muay, athletics, fencing, and Paralympic sports.
Ramirez also instructed national sports associations to assess and give advice how to proceed with the athletes’ training and cope with the spiking confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines.
As for airport arrivals, athletes coming back to the country from competitions will be received at the airport by PSC personnel to assist them back to their respective residences.
They will be allowed to do preventive rest and monitoring for 14 days at the RMSC North Tower under the supervision of the medical team of the agency.
Foreign travel, though, will be suspended for all athletes, coaches, officials and employees from March 14 to April 14 to lower the risk of contracting the illness or spreading it locally as announced in an advisory from PSC commissioner officer-in-charge Celia Kiram.
“Only those who get an endorsement to proceed from Olympics chef de mission Nonong Araneta will be allowed to travel overseas,” said Ramirez. (READ: PH travel ban due to virus ‘top concern’ in Tokyo 2020 Olympics preparation)
The same advisory also informed that all bookings and reservations for the use of its facilities are revoked or canceled.
It also reiterated a previous announcement that PSC projects, programs, and events including those sponsored and organized in cooperation with NSAs or LGUs are postponed indefinitely.
The agency has also advised the public that work is suspended on Friday, March 13, to give way to sanitation efforts to be undertaken by its Operations Department.
PSC chief of staff Marc Edward Velasco disclosed that the agency’s medical and scientific athletes services will issue self-quarantine guidelines for athletes and employees.
As of Wednesday, March 11, the Philippines has recorded a total of 49 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 118,000 people and killed over 4,200 across 110 countries. Still, more than 61,000 people have recovered from the virus. – Rappler.com