Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) are in constant contact with key partners such as Sport Ireland, Sport Ireland Institute, and the FEI to monitor the situation both in Ireland and globally around the current Coronavirus outbreak. Further, Horse Sport Ireland are following all the official circulars and guidance issued by the Department of Health and the Government of Ireland. You can see all Horse Sport Ireland’s latest updates in relation to Covid 19 HERE
Horse Sport Ireland urge all stakeholders to follow Government advice and information, which is regularly updated on the following government website HERE
Recommendations to Breeders
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the country, Horse Sport Ireland encourages all breeders to be extra vigilant in the weeks and months ahead. You can see a full list of breeder recommendations HERE
Below you will find a list of FAQ’s with evidence-based answers and useful information provided by the Sport Ireland Institute.
Is COVID 19 preventable?
There is no vaccine available yet, however this is preventable from spreading if good hygiene measures are taken which are outlined below.
Is it inevitable I will get it?
No. This can be prevented by taking appropriate measures. As with high performance training we would expect athletes to show leadership on how to maintain hygiene.
What should I do if I feel unwell?
Do You have:
- Fever (high temperature)
- Feel short of breath or have difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Feeling excessively tired
- Stay at home, phone your GP, emergency department (ED)
- Call HSE 1850 24 1850 for general advice
- Stay indoors
- Avoid contact with other people
- Follow this advice even if your symptoms are mild
Do not go to your GP’s surgery, ED or healthcare centre or Sport Ireland Institute – phone them first. This is so you do not accidentally put other people at risk. Your GP or doctor will tell you over the phone what to do next.
How sick will I be if I do contract COVID-19?
80% of illnesses are mild and do not require medical attention. In a young athletic cohort (18-35 yrs.) as few as 5% will require hospital
How can I protect myself from getting COVID – 19?
You should always practice good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. Hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene are a series of actions to take which are designed to reduce the spread of infection, including 2019-nCoV, to yourself and others. These actions include regular handwashing and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the bend of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Hand hygiene: Wash your hands regularly.
You should wash your hands:
- After coughing or sneezing
- Before, during and after you prepare food
- Before eating
- After using the toilet
- When caring for the sick
- When hands are dirty
- After handling animals or animal waste
Wash your hands with soap and running water when hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Soap and water are shown to be as good as expensive antiseptic solutions, it really comes down to technique.
Cover your mouth and nose with a clean tissue when you cough and sneeze and then promptly dispose of the tissue in a bin and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow instead, not into your hands.
This is avoiding any unnecessary contacts, and keeping a 1m distance between you and others when possible.
Does my sport place me at higher risk?
It potentially does, if one plays a contact sport or a team sport there are more contacts which increase risk; training outdoors and in well ventilated areas appears to reduce risk.
Do I need to wear a facemask to protect me from 2019-nCoV?
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has produced guidance on the use of facemasks during the 2019-nCoV outbreak. For members of the general public in the community setting who are feeling well and do not have respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, shortness of breath), facemasks are not recommended because there is no evidence that using masks in this setting is of any benefit in people who are not sick.
In fact, you potentially increase your risk by using a facemask as you are handling a surface that has been exposed for a period of time and you could be touching droplets. There is also a shortage of supplies of facemask globally and these are very useful for people to wear when they have symptoms to stop spread and thus should be used then.
People who may need to use facemasks include:
- People with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infection who have respiratory symptoms.
Any other tips
Certain items should be cleaned daily and build this into your regular daily routine:
If a period of self-isolation is required, ensure that you have somewhere this can be done and potential alternative training plans that can be done on your own and access to equipment if needed.
Have enough food stored with sufficient protein/ carbohydrate/ fats.
The most up-to-date source of guidance is the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (www.hpsc.ie) which has developed a helpful FAQ. In addition to general information, it also includes information on prevention, signs/symptoms/ travel advice and the global situation.
The HSE also have a useful website.
Travel advisory for proposed destinations from the department of foreign affairs.
See link to affected areas HERE
The current BHS advice on what equestrian activities are safe and advisable can be found HERE.
For those with travel concerns, there is specific advice available on Gov.ie. The Government published their action plan on 11 March, which outlines the measures in force to contain the spread of the virus. There is presently no rationale to close or cancel equestrian events, but this may change quickly as the situation evolves. We would strongly recommend everyone in the equestrian community to follow the official guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus to help in the containment process.
Irish Athletes in Europe
For IRL athletes in Europe, please contact the Organising Committee in the member state you are competing to ensure the event will proceed and check official government websites within that member state for up to date guidance. Horse Sport Ireland will contact athletes where the FEI and the OC inform the NF of a cancellation of an event due to the outbreak. Horse Sport Ireland will assist athletes to redirect to other events where available.
Further Information HERE
What actions should sports grounds consider taking?
- Regularly check Gov.ie for updates and ensure that your plans are in line with government advice.
- Including COVID-19 in the risk assessment (including any specific risk factors around the local area from which supporters are travelling) and where any additional risks are flagged, considering whether further mitigation measures are required.
- Review medical plans to ensure that they include procedures for dealing sensitively with any person in the ground who presents with symptoms of COVID-19. Some sports grounds have found it useful to produce a specific COVID-19 Standing Operational Procedure (SOP) to share with staff.
- Give clear guidance to staff and stewards on how to deal with potential cases of COVID-19 and issues such as the appropriateness of face masks – ensure that all the agency/public services (e.g. police, ambulance personnel) working at the ground are informed.
- Review business continuity and contingency plans for supply chain disruption and staff/public service shortages (including medical staff, ambulance and police personnel).
- Providing additional hand washing and/or sanitising facilities for staff and the public.
- Communicating with fans (e.g. don’t come to a match if you feel unwell, wash hands regularly, follow the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign).
- Before taking decisions about changes to events or your safety management operation, ensure that all the potential safety implications have been considered, and you have consulted with the Certifying Authority/SAG members and other stakeholders where appropriate.
- Ensure that, where appropriate, your plans align with those of the local authority, emergency and health services.
Guidance for the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) for the Republic of Ireland from the Health Services Executive can be found HERE. As many sporting organisations operate on an all-island basis we would ask that you are aware of advice that covers across both jurisdictions and take the necessary steps.
As the situation around the current Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak is constantly evolving and is impacting many communities, we all need to be aware that it is everyone’s responsibility to help minimise the spread of the virus through containment. In order to achieve that goal, we must all keep ourselves updated on the latest advice, both from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our own national or local authorities.
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