Information (The Jakarta Post)
Thu 7 October 2021
The 20e The National Games in Papua, which last from October 2 to 15, involve athletes and officials from all provinces. The pandemic has made ensuring the safety and health of all who participate in the multisport event a huge challenge. The government and all stakeholders have made every effort to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 through various strategies, such as maintaining the strict implementation of the health protocol.
Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said the Papua Games have gone well so far. All the competitions were well organized while the sanitary protocols are well respected. Several parties have been involved in the oversight of the games, including the Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
“This is multi-stakeholder cooperation; all parties worked together. The surveillance was carried out regularly, involving the head of the BNPB and the Minister of Health themselves, ”Zainudin said in a discussion on Tuesday.
Several levels of health protection principles are applied at the Papua Games, and they are implemented in accordance with the experience of the Tokyo Olympics. Like the bubble to bubble system, which requires everyone to be vaccinated before entering the rooms. Additionally, all athletes and officials are subject to regular COVID-19 testing, with antigen testing being the minimum.
The sole purpose of the series of tests, he added, was to provide maximum protection to all parties, including local residents who were very enthusiastic about the Papua Games.
“The Papua Games have been the most anticipated event by the people of Papua; therefore, we have to provide them with protection, ”he said.
He added that the need to maintain health protocols should be addressed as part of the new routine, as the end of the pandemic was still unclear.
Commenting further on health protection, the chief organizer of the Papua Games, Major General (retired) Suwarno, said special processes applied to all parties involved in the multisport event.
He said prior to departure all athletes must be vaccinated, undergo PCR testing and be isolated in their respective provinces. Upon arrival, the athletes had to undergo an antigen test again and stay in accommodations according to their sports. Athletes are only allowed to go from their accommodation to sports venues. Visiting other places is strictly prohibited, as stipulated by the bubble system.
“If an infection is suspected, then he or she should be tested with antigen tests followed by PCR. If they are positive, they should be sent to an isolation room and local organizers should immediately search for any close contacts. Full body contact athletes like wushu athletes or wrestlers should be tested with antigen tests before competing, ”Suwarno said.
Before returning home, all athletes must undergo a PCR test to ensure good health and meet flight requirements. Upon arriving in their respective provinces, Suwarno expected the provincial branch of the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) to ensure that all athletes self-isolate for a period to ensure that they do not bring back the virus at home.
“Currently, Papua and the Moluccas are subject to the level 2 social activity restrictions,” said the head of health management of the national COVID-19 task force, Brig. General (retired) Alexander Ginting, who was present at the same event, said.
He said residents were urged to prepare health protective gear before visiting sports venues.
The task force campaigned for the need to wear masks, wash hands and maintain a distance, as well as a test, tracing and treatment (3T) program, and to be vaccinated at least Once.
“We also made it clear that if you feel the symptoms, then don’t leave the house or go to a sports venue. Please consult a doctor to avoid transmission ”,
Alexander added that organizers forced all visitors to wear masks during the Papua Games.
Until that date, he said, health protocols and other technical regulations had been well respected. This includes a ban on group cheering while looking at sites, a remote maintenance policy, COVID-19 testing, and working with the national COVID-19 task force.
“We must prevent the National Games from becoming an epicenter of the COVID-19 contraction,” he said.
Wushu gold medalist Edgar Xavier Marvelo admitted that athletes compete in a whole different atmosphere.
“Previously we only focused on competition, but at the moment we need to increase our health priorities due to the pandemic,” he said.
Edgar encouraged all junior athletes not to give in to the current pandemic situation and to continue training.
“But it must be done with caution. We must maintain the discipline of health protocol and be vaccinated. We all hope that this pandemic will be over soon, and then we can resume our life normally, ”he added.
He also expected the Papua Games to be successful and thus mark the start of an increase in the activities of the population during the pandemic with a focus on health protection.
“The pandemic is no longer an obstacle to continuing to work and become a high performer. “