Coronavirus Update for the information of Media

by Rugby Australia

Rugby Australia has released the following update on the latest with regards to the actions and steps taken by the sport in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This information will be updated regularly as the situation regarding the virus continues to evolve.

Rugby Australia & SANZAAR

Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Warren McDonald has worked closely with SANZAAR and Chief Medical Officers from the SANZAAR nations since the initial outbreak of the virus in January.

The SANZAAR CMOs continue to meet on a weekly basis to assess the information from the relevant health authorities in each country and continue to update advice on key preventative measures and planning considerations in relation to the virus, for the benefit of each Union and its players, match officials, medical teams, and support staff involved in Super Rugby.

Two of the Japan-based Sunwolves’ matches have been relocated to Australian venues after the Japanese government’s ordering of the cancellation of major sporting events in the country through early March. Discussions are ongoing at SANZAAR and with the Sunwolves in relation to future matches scheduled for Japan, with the team continuing to be based in Australia ahead of its match against the Crusaders in Brisbane on Saturday.

Travel guidance is being constantly monitored through the Australian Government and the various agencies to track flight cancellations, travel disruptions and the latest health and safety guidance.

Players, Support Staff & Match Officials

Among a number of preventative measures recommended by the SANZAAR CMOs, all players and support staff across the Super Rugby competition and Australian Sevens teams are being assessed daily by team medical staff for signs and symptoms of illness.

Part of these recommendations has seen the implementation of daily temperature monitoring for all team personnel and match officials. Any concerns arising from the testing are to be raised with the relevant National Union CMO and the player, support staff member or match official would undergo further testing and monitoring. At all times, the privacy and confidentiality of any player, support staff member or match official will be respected and safeguarded.

Fans

Rugby Australia and SANZAAR are also monitoring advice from the relevant Government authorities in relation to the attendance of sporting fixtures across each State and Territory. All venues within Australia are subject to minimum conditions with regards to their preparedness to host a sporting fixture including specific requirements for cleanliness and hygiene. Advice on the latest health information for members and ticket purchasers is being made available by National Unions and the teams.

Rugby Australia and SANZAAR will continue to assess the match environment in line with advice from authorities before making any future decision with regards to restricting match attendance or the postponement/cancellation of fixtures.

Community Rugby

With Community Rugby competitions set to kick off across the country over the coming weeks, Rugby Australia has produced a live document containing the latest information and advice from Australian Government and Health authorities. As part of this advice players, coaches, and volunteers are being asked to refrain from attending training sessions or club environments in the event they are unwell or experiencing flu-like symptoms, regardless of their recent travel activity.

There is not currently any advice that recommends those in Australia refrain from attending or participating in sporting matches, however all members of the Rugby community are being advised to stay up to date with the latest advice from the Department of Health.

Quotes from Rugby Australia Chief Medical Officer, Warren McDonald:

“Rugby Australia, in conjunction with SANZAAR has been monitoring the developments regarding Coronavirus since the initial outbreak in Asia in January, and we are continuing to share information and updates daily, as well as meeting formally on a weekly basis as the situation continues to evolve.

“There is a lot of misinformation in the public about the virus and the most important advice for the Rugby community is to follow the advice of the Health authorities and focus on good hygiene practices as the best preventative measure.

“We are being guided by the advice from the authorities and have taken some additional steps with regards to the monitoring of players and staff within our organisations and will continue to communicate the latest developments and make information available to those within our community."