The Italian Swimming Federation, FIN, has declared that all participants, including athletes, staff, and coaches, will require a negative coronavirus test before participating in any upcoming competitions sanctioned by the national federation.
The memo states that either a rapid test or a molecular antigenic nasopharyngeal swab must happen within 3 days of arrival at the facility and tested at an authorized laboratory for individuals to participate.
The federation will contribute to expenses incurred with taking the tests for each athlete, plus up to 1 coach for every 5 participating athletes.
Currently, there is only one scheduled meet organized by the national federation – the Italian Championships planned for December 17-19 in Riccione.
Most of the country’s gyms and swimming pools were shut down late alst month through November 24, though elites “of a national interest” are allowed to continue training and competing. The new rules came amid a surge in new coronavirus cases in the country that included an outbreak at one of the federal training centers that saw Olympic gold medalist and World Record holder Federica Pellegrini become infected, among others.
SwimSwam’s Giusy Cisale reports that the Minister for Youth Policies and Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said on Italian television this week that he believes that all of those new restrictions, including gyms and swimming pools but also restrictions on restaurants, schools, and other indoor activities, would continue through at least December.
Italy was one of the earliest hotspots for coronavirus outside of China in March where the country peaked at over 5,600 new daily cases. After those numbers dropped dramatically in what was one of the world’ coronavirus success stories through the summer, they’ve now exploded again, averaging almost 35,000 new cases per day over the last week. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have also risen and are approaching the early-April records for the country, with 753 recorded on Wednesday.
So far, the new restrictions have done little to curtail the spread of the virus – new cases are up about 50% since the October 25 announcement of new restrictions, though there are some signs that the growth curve is beginning to flatten.