S’porean athletes advised to practice abstinence or safe sex for 2 months upon return from Rio Olympics
Because Zika virus.
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A cocktail of seven vaccinations, insect repellents, diffusers and essential oils will be part of Singapore athletes’ packing list when Rio 2016 starts in August.
The 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has been plagued with security and health issues, as athletes have reportedly been mugged on the streets amidst a period of political instability, an economic crisis and the Zika outbreak.
Singapore is sending up to 25 athletes competing in seven sports to the Olympic Games, and up to 11 para-athletes to compete in five sports for the Paralympic Games.
A total of 22 athletes and seven para-athletes are confirmed for the Games.
To prevent athletes from getting Zika, the Singaporean contingents have prepared a “bag of tricks”, including a diffuser, citronella essential oil, insect repellent and compression wear will be provided to each member of the Singaporean contingents.
Contingent members are also required to treat their attire with permethrin, an insecticide, before they head to Rio.
Athletes will also have to take precautions when they return home, and minimise travel around Singapore for at least two weeks.
They will have to report daily to their team managers or the Singapore Sports Institute’s medical team for the same period.
They will also have to practice safe sex using condoms, or abstain from sex for two months upon their return. Zika can be transmitted via sexual contact.
“This Games, we’re equipping athletes with everything that we believe will help them stay healthy and then inculcating this need to continue to be responsible athletes and officials representing Singapore upon their return,” Low said. “(We) don’t normally do this for the other games.”
“If you look at all the other Games, you come back, you do well you celebrate, you don’t do well, you come back you think about it and then you move on,” he added. “Here, there is this aspect of it which is really (a) health consideration.”
Athletes and their families, aren’t having many concerns, according to Low.
“The athletes themselves are so excited about representing Singapore,” he said. “So far, none of the athletes are not excited about going there. I’ve spoken to the parents – the parents (of the athletes) are also very excited about being in that part of the world to watch their daughters and sons participate in the Olympics.”
On top of the extensive packing list, athletes and officials will also be travelling from one safety “bubble” to another, and have been advised to remain vigilant outside of Olympic venues.
“We have a responsibility with regards to our Team Singapore athletes and also our officials going there,” said Low Teo Ping, chef de mission for the Olympic contingent. “It’s going to be a challenge in some way, but we have already been inculcating and emphasising (in) our athletes and officials the need to really be on guard.”
“(Rio) is not some place where you can hop into a bus, hop into a train, and then get on to some place (to) wander around yourself.”