KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Seven national athletes including five para athletes were confirmed to be Covid-19 positive after undergoing swab tests before the start of their quarantine-based approach training on Monday (Jan 4).
The National Sports Council (NSC), in a statement, said those infected were two from athletics, two wheelchair tennis players, two wheelchair basketball players, one hearing-impaired tenpin bowling athlete and one boccia official.
Its director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the individuals detected positive had been isolated pending further action by the Health Ministry.
"NSC has also segregated athletes who might have come into close contact with the infected athletes and official, and swab tests will be conducted on the fourth day.
"Those whose results are negative but symptomatic would have to undergo quarantine for up to 10 days. Tests will be conducted on the ninth day to confirm they are free from infection,” he added.
A total of 466 of the 735 athletes under the Podium Programme and national back-up athletes and officials have undergone swab tests at their respective training centres, coordinated by NSC and the National Sports Institute (NSI).
The swab tests were done at the NSC Taman Keramat Sports Complex involving 38 of 41 athletes and coaches, apart from Kecemerlangan Paralimpik Kampung Pandan Complex involving 89 of 91 para athletes and coaches.
On Sunday (Jan 3), Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann was found positive during swab tests on 39 players and coaches at the Academy Badminton Malaysia prior to their departure for the BWF Asian Tour in Thailand.
Overall, only one per cent or eight of 632 athletes and officials who had undergone the swab tests had been found positive.
They are believed to have contracted the virus while on leave in their hometowns or homes.
Ahmad Shapawi said after discussions with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, the NSC centralised training camp would continue on a quarantine-based approach for the first two weeks, with athletes and officials barred from leaving except to their training places.
"This directive will be reviewed after two weeks based on developments on the spread of Covid-19.
"Centralised training facilities can be used only by athletes and coaches. Movements in and out of the accommodation and training premises are not allowed except for athletes and coaches.
"Sanitisation will be carried out at every training and accommodation centre on a weekly basis. This will be implemented immediately.
"This step is taken in accordance with the set standard operating procedure (SOP) and NSC’s commitment in ensuring that the national athletes are in their best health and condition to undergo training,” said Ahmad Shapawi.
He said this would be enforced at all training centres.
Meanwhile, athletes who did not report for training today will do so tomorrow at their respective training centres. - Bernama