The British Horseracing Authority announced on January 1 that it will ‘temporarily postpone’ its requirement for anyone entering the weigh room in Britain to present a negative lateral flow test due to nationwide difficulty in get the rapid results tests.
The requirement was due to go into effect at all racetracks in Britain on Wednesday, but concerns had been expressed over the ability to deliver testing with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causing a spike in infections across the UK.
In an announcement to attendees, the BHA said on Saturday: âAcknowledging the difficulty some attendees and officials have had in ordering lateral flow tests, the racing industry’s COVID-19 group has temporarily deferred the requirement, announced earlier this week to show a negative result. lateral flow test to access the weighing room.
âThe purpose of this break is to allow participants to secure a supply of tests and we encourage you to continue your efforts to do so. A new implementation date will be announced once LFT’s supply issues improve.
âIf you’ve been able to get tests, we recommend that you start testing regularly. Although booster vaccination remains a vital defense against serious illness and death, you can still contract and transmit the virus, hence the value of combining vaccination with regular testing.
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The requirement for a negative LFT to enter the weigh room was announced just two days ago, with Dr Jerry Hill, the BHA’s chief medical adviser, saying it was a ” important step to help protect our staff and the race product “from staff shortages. and potential match postponements or cancellations, which have impacted sports such as football in recent weeks.
A series of measures had already been put in place to minimize the risks of the virus spreading, including the use of COVID-19 certificates and requests to wear masks and social distancing.
“COVID-19 continues to be a major problem in the UK,” the BHA statement added. “By keeping a few simple protections, we can minimize the risk of infection to ourselves and others, and avoid disrupting the running program.”
Racetracks in England faced limited disruption in the latest wave of coronavirus infections, while crowds were capped at 500 in Scotland and temporarily excluded from venues in Wales.
In Ireland, officials said on December 31 that there were no plans to implement a testing regime similar to that proposed by the BHA, with a spokesperson for the Ireland Horseracing Regulatory Board saying: âTo At this point, we don’t see enough evidence that we need to do that. “
A total of 189,846 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK on Friday, according to the latest government data.
The rate of infection has led the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing to call for priority health workers to receive tests to ease staff issues, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said ministers expect to have to “limit” the supply of tests for two weeks to manage soaring demand.