Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Australian orienteering events

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On 13 March, the Australian Prime Minister announced that “holding non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people” should not proceed.

The Australian 3-Days Easter 2020, NSW Middle and Long Distance Championships and mid-week events have been postponed to Easter 2021 and the week following Easter 2021. The 3-Days scheduled for Queensland and the ACT in 2021 and 2022 respectively will now take place in 2022 and 2023. Orienteering NSW have contacted entrants separately about arrangements for those already entered.

The same events will be held, subject to land owner approval, at the same venues.

Other orienteering events and activities

Orienteering Australia is monitoring closely the developments relating to the spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and noting the updates and advice given by the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation. and other UK public bodies.

Orienteering Australia and its constituent bodies will follow the advice of the Australian government unless we are instructed to do so by the state governments or other relevant authorities.

The National Orienteering League events scheduled for Queensland on 25-26 April will not take place.  A decision on the May NOL events and the Australian Championships carnival will be made in the coming weeks.

Decisions around the staging of local events are a matter for State Associations. As current advice to postpone large public gatherings only applies to those with more than 500 people present, local events should be able to proceed for the time being, subject to the agreement of landowners. There are no guarantees that this will continue to be the case and we think it is quite likely that there will be a period of at least a few weeks when no organised events can take place.

We take the safety of our members and all those involved in organising and delivering competitions and events very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation and potentially introduce further guidance or measures as the situation evolves.

The Orienteering Australia Annual General Meeting and associated meetings will also be rescheduled. More detailed advice will be provided to State Associations separately.

Competition Guidance

You must not come to any Australian orienteering event or activity if you fall into one of the following categories.

  • If you are unwell with a cough or fever or other respiratory symptoms. This is particularly so for people who have recently travelled from overseas.
  • If you have been a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 until 14 days after having contact with a confirmed case even if they are completely symptom free.
  • If you have returned from or transited through a listed higher risk country (currently mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea), until 14 days after leaving the country.
  • If you are undergoing COVID-19 testing until you have received your results
  • If you have been advised to stay at home by a health professional.

Risk Management

Event organisers should look at opportunities to reduce the risk of close contact for orienteers, officials and volunteers:

  • No drinks controls or water at start or finish for competitors. Any drinks at controls must have a volunteer stationed to ensure good hygiene or ask competitors to carry water.
  • Asking competitors to bring their own hand sanitisers.
  • Providing hand washing or sanitising facilities at the assembly area if possible.
  • Asking all that attend to follow good hygiene practices.
  • Providing refunds to those that absent themselves for health reasons
  • Checking first aid kits have thermometers and emergency local contact information is known.
  • No results (make available on line) or presentations at events.
  • Maps will be kept by competitors following finish at all events.
  • Providing some protective equipment, disinfectant and briefing to event volunteers.
  • Arranging starts and finishes to allow 1m distance between people

Event organisers should draw attention to the Competition Guidance (above). And they should provide information in advance (e.g. about the personal hygiene facilities available at the event) to help people in make an informed decision as to whether to compete.

As you can appreciate the situation is changing rapidly and we will keep you informed of any further developments or changes. It is a very challenging time for the sport in Australia, as it is for Australian society more generally, and we look forward to more normal conditions returning in the months ahead.

Blair Trewin