Badminton in a Bio Bubble – Everything to Know About the Bangkok Green Zone

Strait Times

Editor Image Courtesy: Strait Times 06 Jan, 2021

A total of 824 individuals have been tested, and all of them returned negative results for covid_19 as organizers in Bangkok step up their preparation for the resumption of topflight badminton that has remained in a state of limbo ever since the sport went into a protracted lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic.

The finale of the HSBC BWF World Tour 2020 commences with the Yonex Thailand Open on January 12th, 2021 and will be followed by two other tournaments, one of them being the World Tour Finals. That will bring curtains on an extraordinary seasons in Badminton, a few weeks later and many a tournament lighter than what was originally envisaged. 

A lot of 824 individuals comprise the Green Zone for the tournament and it is no less than a herculean task to keep the bio-bubble sacrosanct. So how do the BWF, the tournament organizers, and the various agencies involved - accomplish this near impossible task?

Per a BWF statement, they have been putting in place an array of measures to ensure the safest possible environment for the competing athletes and their entourage.

The process kicks-off even before a player or an official or a crew member gets on a plane and is on his/her way to the Thai capital. Following a successful accreditation process, the individual must undertake a test and return a negative covid-test before embarking upon the flight.

Arriving at the Bangkok international airport, each participant is subjected to a thermal scan before they are driven to the hotel with a police escort in socially-distanced assigned seats on their buses. Every individual is required to avoid contact with anyone outside of the bubble.

At the designated hotel, each participant is subjected to their first covid-test in Thailand the results of which are shared with them via email. This is to avoid any additional contact with people while the players are in their mandatory quarantine in compliance with The Department of Disease Control of Thailand. 

The guidelines for the isolation period include some very stringent protocols such as – only two people are allowed in the elevators at a time, and they ought to be from the same country. As soon as the two individuals have finished using the elevator, sanitation staff will sanitize the elevator before it is available for others’ use.

During their time in isolation each participant will receive 3-packed meals, which they must eat in their own rooms. Any outdoor activities must be approved in advance – these include training sessions, fitness routines, and others. 

Practice sessions must be scheduled such that all the players from a country participate together, and all training areas are thoroughly sanitized before and after each session. 

Athletes can meet their physios in their rooms once practice commences, and it requires a specific procedure/appointment these personnel leaving their rooms. Following the period of isolation and returning negative tests, participants will be allowed to order food from the outside and relax outside their room – whilst following all the norms for infection control. 

According to the BWF, “Participants will also continue to undergo regular COVID-19 tests throughout the quarantine period during the three tournaments.”

Each one of the participants are informed of these strict protocols, and must ensure adherence at all times.

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