Dr. Béla Merkely, rector of Semmelweis University is the head of the medical team, which is responsible for the health care of the competitors, coaches and service providers of the International Swimming League (ISL) sport event series organized in Budapest. Semmelweis Medical Services Ltd., which is owned by Semmelweis University, provides medical services during the event series between 6 October and 22 November 2020. Among other things, the company will take care of the PCR testing procedures of the participants. Up until November 1, 6494 samples had been taken from 1,345 individuals, out of which 32 results were positive.
Several PCR tests have to be performed for the more than 1,000 participants of the sport event every week, in addition to making sure that the regulations of “Prevention and intervention protocol” are always strictly followed. A so-called “bubble” was created for the participants of the event, which covers the area of several square meters including the Danube Arena, the 50-meter-long swimming pool of Dagály covered with a tent, the locations of accommodation on Margaret Island and the buses transporting the teams – said Dr. Béla Merkely, rector of Semmelweis University. This “bubble” is strictly monitored. According to the rector, before the event starts, both the Hungarian and international participants as well as the members of the sport crew have to have a negative PCR test result that is not older than 5 days. During the event series, participants are continuously being tested, and in case of a positive result, those who are concerned have to stay in quarantine on site at the hotel for 14 days.
The participants of the event arrived in Budapest starting from 7 October. Between 7 October 7 and 1 November, 6,494 samples have been taken from 1,345 individuals. Up until now, the coronavirus was detected in 32 including 2 swimmers and 30 people belonging to the Hungarian crew. In the case of the 2 swimmers, COVID-19 was detected shortly after their arrival and they had to stay in quarantine for 14 days. The course of the infection was mild in both cases and the swimmers have recently been able to leave the quarantine, thus they could return to practice.
As the rector pointed out, the participants are not allowed to leave the “bubble” during the event series. The only exception is the opportunity to have a walk on Margaret Island no longer than 90 minutes and participants cannot visit public places. Because of the safety standards, participants of the event are not allowed to bring their favorite lucky charms into Danube Arena and it is also prohibited to take group photos, to shake hands or to give a hug. It is mandatory to wear a mask outside the swimming-pool and to keep a 2-meter distance. It is also regulated how many swimmers can practice in one lane and how they should reach the lap by avoiding contact.
Semmelweis Medical Services Ltd., which is owned by Semmelweis University, provides the medical services at the entire event in the framework of the contract signed by the International Swimming League and the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. Semmelweis Medical Services Ltd. will take care of the responsibilities in cooperation with the National Ambulance Service, the Department of Emergency of Semmelweis University as well as Péterfy Hospital – Jenő Manninger National Institute of Traumatology.
Dr. Béla Merkely, rector of Semmelweis University is head of the medical team, which is responsible for the health care of the competitors, organizers, coaches and service providers of the International Swimming League (ISL) sport event series. The team will not only take care of the PCR testing procedures, but they are responsible for supervising entry and exit based on strict guidelines and providing continuous medical care on site. The medical team consists of 50-60 medical doctors, nurses and the public health inspectors of the Department of Hospital Hygiene are also participating in the team’s work. The members of this team can cooperate with each other very well. This is the same team that provided health care serrvices on the occasion of FINA in 2017, and ever since the team members have also participated in several international sport events.
The International Swimming League event of the second season started in the middle of October and finishes on November 22. Originally only 10 rounds of the regular season were planned to be organized in Budapest with the participation of 10 teams – out of them 8 teams are selected for the semifinals organized between November 19 and 22. According to plans, the finals of 4 teams would have been held in Tokyo, but in view of the current epidemiological situation, its location will be Budapest, too.
Photo: Dóra Szepesi
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi