Important message from the BHA Chief Medical Adviser

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British racing welcomed the news last week that racing – as an elite sport – can continue behind closed doors during the national lockdown, with strict infection control measures remaining in place.

With people throughout the industry now grappling with the implications of the new lockdown, rising infections and a new variant of the virus, the NTF asked Dr Jerry Hill from the BHA for the latest medical advice to help support participants and businesses to stay safe.

Dr Jerry Hill

The continuation of racing during the national lockdown reflects our strong track record of operating safely, and the continued diligence of our participants in adhering to racing’s protocols.

But with a new, more virulent strain of the virus causing rising infections and increased hospital admissions across the country, it is crucial that we redouble our efforts to keep our risk of infection low.

Racecourses, yards, and other businesses have made significant changes to keep everyone safe, but it is essential that this focus extends to our domestic lives too.

Making considered decisions

Please continue to follow government lockdown restrictions, staying at home and only leaving to go to work or when absolutely necessary, and only meeting socially with members of your immediate household or support bubble. We continue to see fixtures cancelled in other sports due to protocol breaches and outbreaks of the virus, so by acting responsibly and sticking to the guidance, we reduce this risk of this occurring in racing.

Do not go to work if you are displaying even minor symptoms of the virus. Going to work when unwell jeopardises your own safety and that of your colleagues – putting the wider business at risk of temporary closure due to quarantine of any close contacts. Instead, self-isolate immediately and arrange a COVID-19 test.
While you are waiting for the test result, you should NOT go to work.

If you test positive for COVID-19, please contact NHS 111 for advice, or for guidance specific to racing, the BHA Medical Department. This will help protect the health and wellbeing of those around you, minimising any impact on the wider industry. Close contacts must follow isolation advice as well.

At fixtures

When at work, on racecourse, in a yard or elsewhere, please ensure that you:

  • Maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres wherever possible.
  • Wear a face covering at all times when required to do so. All face coverings should be triple layered (in line with specifications set out here by the World Health Organisation) to provide the maximum protection against the new strain of the virus. More information about recommended face coverings, including the Yaris Racing snood, is available here. Please note that anyone choosing to wear a standard snood or scarf for comfort/warmth must combine it with another layer of protection i.e., wear a face covering underneath. When replacing face coverings, please ensure that the replacement is non-valved, as these offer superior protection.
  • Clean your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water, or by using hand sanitiser.
  • Ventilation – maximise ventilation in all indoor areas by opening doors and windows.

Racing has responded superbly to the challenges presented by the pandemic, and it is crucial that we retain these high standards and continue to take responsibility, both at work and in our private lives, to minimise the risk of infection, safeguard our people and protect wider racing industry.

Thank you for your continued efforts.
Dr Jerry Hill, BHA Chief Medical Adviser

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