Federnuoto (Italian Aquatic Federation) has published the health protocol that will regulate the resumption of sports activity in swimming pools in the so-called Phase 2 of the coronavirus emergency. The guidelines were drawn up by the commission made up of professors Marco Bonifazi, Roberto Del Bianco, Giovanni Melchiorri, doctors Antonio De Pascale and Lorenzo Marugo and surveyor Maurizio Colaiacomo, representing the Italian Swimming Federation, and professors Massimo Andreoni, Giovanni Di Pierri, Francesco Landi and Emanuele Montomoli as external experts.
WHY REOPEN. The document highlights the importance of sport for public health (physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of global mortality) and for the state coffers (it affects 4% annual health care costs). "The prolongation of the lockdown - it also reads - risks significantly increasing that 66% of sedentary or active Italians only occasionally (according to ISTAT 2017 data)". "The reopening of the sports facilities is therefore an urgent necessity, also considering the dramatic economic effects that an even longer closure would have on the management of the same and of the swimming pools in particular, many of which would lead to a definitive closure", also reads in the introduction to the guidelines.
THE CHLORINE FACTOR. The Federnuoto commission also recalls how the WHO and a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established that "conventional and centralized water treatment methods that use chlorine filtration and disinfection are believed to be able to inactivate the virus responsible for COVID-19 ". Therefore "free chlorine concentrations between 0.7 and 1.5 mg / in swimming pool water, required by current regulations, seem largely capable of preventing the spread of COVID-19". And also the evaporation of chlorine itself limits the danger of virus propagation.
THE GUIDE. This is a detailed guide, with indications regarding every aspect concerning the prevention of coronavirus infection: from cleaning, sanitizing and ventilation criteria to personnel protection measures, from the organization of reception areas to that of changing rooms and showers, as well as which, of course, of the tub.
CROWDING AND SPACING. The guidelines distinguish a Phase 2 A - starting from May 4, or when the facilities will be available only to athletes of national interest of the individual disciplines - from a Phase 2 B, which presumably should start on May 18, in which it can resume the basic activity.
In this regard, the most important indication of the Fin protocol concerns the crowding density of the tank and the other rooms of the system: in the changing rooms at least 5 square meters of space per person must be guaranteed; in gyms, 7 m2 per person are needed; in the swimming pool, each athlete involved in Phase 2 A must have at least 10 square meters available; in Phase 2 B, each person in the tank must have 7 m2 available.
The document also gives some practical examples regarding Phase 2 B (reopening to the public): both for the swimming activity of children and teenagers (U14) and for adults (over 14) in a typical 25x2m lane, there should be a maximum space of 7 students.
"These assumptions require that, at present, the competitive practice of the various FIN disciplines can only be carried out within the pools individually", explains the document. In Phase 2 B, therefore, a water polo team could resume training, but keeping the athletes at a distance: it would therefore be possible to swim and perform individual exercises, not play. For that, it will be necessary to wait for the subsequent Phases of the emergency.
OTHER MEASURES. Among the other measures listed in the provision: the obligation to measure the temperature for staff and users upon entering the system; the closure of the stands; the obligation for instructors and coaches to wear a mask; the obligation for children to wear the swimsuit already under their clothes, in order to facilitate dressing operations.