The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued updated guidance for anti-doping organizations (ADO) concerning the coronavirus pandemic, including advising on steps to ensure public health takes precedence.
Guidance was refined following a teleconference with the National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADO) advisory group, which offers input in promoting doping control strategies and plans.
WADA acknowledged the anti-doping system has been impacted by the pandemic, which has led to countries taking strict measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The anti-doping watchdog referred to border closures, mandatory quarantines, and the cancellation of flights and sporting events, which have hindered typical work conducted.
“This remains the aim, and WADA’s vision of a world where all athletes can compete in a doping-free sporting environment remains the same,” WADA wrote in its guidance.
“However, we all agree that the protection of public health must take precedence; and so, we must put stronger measures in place as a global antidoping community.
“We are grateful to ADOs that have outlined how they are being impacted and what measures they are putting in place.
"Given the differences specific to each country, it is difficult to establish one overarching set of recommendations or guidelines.”
Advice includes organizations developing specific guidelines, procedures and training for sample collection personnel, as well as ensuring those collecting samples do not show any symptoms related to coronavirus.
Sample collection personnel should also be instructed to ask athletes upon initial communication whether anyone at the testing location is sick, experiencing symptoms or in the at-risk demographic.
WADA also advise medical masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes be provided, with sample collection staff instructed to wash their hands regularly.
The staff should either sanitize their hands or put on new gloves on arrival at a testing location.