FOLLOWING THE UK CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER’S DECISION TO RAISE THE CORONAVIRUS RISK FROM LOW TO MODERATE, AND THE PUBLISHING BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THEIR RESPONSE TO THIS, WE WANT TO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING GUIDANCE AND ADVICE TO OUR MEMBER CLUBS AND LEAGUES.
We have been following daily both NHS and Public Health England guidance regarding Coronavirus and would recommend that our members do the same. The links to the latest updates and advice to the British public is copied at the links below:
PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND GUIDANCE
Each of our clubs and leagues should tailor their response to this guidance as they see fit. Circumstances are unique to the individual club / league, and you will note that the guidance varies depending upon whether anyone is actively displaying symptoms, has traveled back from an infected area or is generally concerned about the increase of cases in the UK.
We would recommend clubs / leagues proceed with their fixtures as normal.
The AFA is following the FA and Government advice which at the time of writing, does not offer any advice to say that we should not be shaking hands, but highlights and emphasises the need for good hand hygiene at all times.
However, if teams feel happier not to shake hands (or to try an alternative method like fist bumping) then that is absolutely their choice and Leagues are encouraged to be understanding of teams making this choice. Should teams decide not to shake hands or opt for an alternative method this must be conveyed to the match referee before the teams enter the field of play.
Alternatively a League may choose to issue a policy to remove the procedural pre/post match handshake, but this would be solely at the discretion of the League.
The AFA and the FA are actively monitoring and adopting Government advice, and as a matter of good practice would recommend that Leagues and Clubs adopt the same approach.
We also advise you to:
Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
ANYONE CONCERNED THAT THEY MAY HAVE SYMPTOMS, HOWEVER MILD, SHOULD CONTACT 111 IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, AS NHS 111 HAS AN ONLINE CORONAVIRUS SERVICE.