NEWS

WHO Guidance on Mass Gatherings

By Paul Groves | 09 Apr, 2020

There has been plenty written about how to keep fitness levels steady and how to enjoy on-line sessions, linking up with old friends and new training partners using the amazing technology available these days. Another area that has been equally busy but which has not received the same degree of publicity is how “risk” is assessed and managed by organisers.

There are plenty of sources available to you but trusted sources are being swept aside by spurious ones. ETU and ITU has relied heavily on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation and for all of you out there who have organised events, you will be familiar with the “look” of the spreadsheet that you can find below but for all of you who are unaware that before you arrive at an event, there is a whole lot of work that went on before and that will continue during and after your event to ensure that you and everyone present is safe.

With more time on our hands now than ever before, perhaps this is a great opportunity for us all to get some awareness of what immense pressure our event organisers are currently under and how, with specific guidance, they are being helped to make the right decisions.

The WHO has provided the following on their website. It is reproduced here, in part but please visit their website for a more in-depth reading:

Background

This is an operational tool which offers guidance for organizers holding meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak and which should be accompanied by the WHO COVID-19 Generic Risk Assessment Excel file available on the WHO website.

Organizers should be up to date on the outbreak, using the daily situation reports provided by WHO as well as national reports, if available.

Mass gatherings COVID-19 risk assessment
This document provides a COVID-19 risk assessment and mitigation checklist for use by host countries and mass gathering organizers. It also includes an operational tool which offers guidance for organizers holding meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak and which should be accompanied by the WHO COVID-19 Generic Risk Assessment Excel file. It should be read in conjunction with WHO’s Key planning recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak (Interim guidance).

It is WHO’s view that all countries with community transmission should seriously consider postponing or reducing mass gatherings that bring people together and have the potential to amplify disease and support the recommended best practice of physical distancing. Any decision will be supported through the use of WHO tools, in particular the Risk Assessment for Mass Gatherings during COVID-19.

If movement restrictions and further national measures have been established in the country, the WHO RA does not apply. However, when the process of re-opening/conducting mass gatherings is being considered post movement restrictions, it will be key to ensure any decisions are based on a risk assessment, such as the WHO Mass gatherings COVID-19 risk assessment.

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