BiathlonRacingWorld CupIBU Communicates Biathletes from Numerous Countries Test Positive for COVID (Updated)

FasterSkier FasterSkierNovember 25, 2020
Martin Fourcade (FRA) racing in Kontiolahti, Finland last season. Fourcade has since retired. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The International Biathlon Union announced on Wednesday that as part of their Covid-19 testing protocols, several teams had athletes test positive for the virus. Those positive tests were from Russian, Latvian, and Moldovan biathletes. The IBU stated it was the first of a series of PCR tests to be administered in Kontiolahti, Finland, the first stop of the IBU World Cup. In an email received Thursday morning, the IBU relayed news that athletes from France and Romania also tested positive.

The IBU also claimed in their brief statement that teams have been notified and the affected parties isolated.

This season’s IBU World Cup race schedule has already been modified due to the pandemic. In the past, for example, the IBU’s first race-trimester would include three stops over three weeks. Currently, the IBU plans on holding the first and second week of racing in Kontiolahti to reduce international travel. The second stop, in Hochfilzen, Germany, also includes two weeks of racing, with the intent, again, of minimizing travel during the pandemic.

According to the “IBU Event Guidelines Covid-19”, the following measures must be taken to isolate an infected person.

“ISOLATED SICK PERSONS

  • Isolation rooms on venue (People that have contact with the isolated, possibly sick persons should have need to wear access to proper protection (masks, eye protection etc.)
  • Isolation in hotels
  • Reduce double rooms and use single rooms
  • Reserve room(s) per nation “

The Team Guide, posted by kontiolahtibiathlon.com, states “special groups”, in this case, athletes and team staff, must present a certificate “of a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 72 hours prior to arrival to Finland, a certificate will be checked at border control by the Finnish Border Guard.”

The “model for entry of special groups” explains those presenting a certified negative test may train, and “no obligatory quarantine” is required. However, the guidelines state “self-isolation highly recommended.”

According to the entry guidelines, a follow up negative test within 72 hours after entry to Finland must also be presented to the proper authorities.

We will update this story accordingly.

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