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It’s difficult to distinguish elite from recreational sport says Profs Gauci

Superintendent for Health Charmaine Gauci said that it was difficult for health authorities to distinguish between elite and recreational sport as a ban all organised sport remained in place in Malta.

For more than a month, the Legal Notice issued by the government and health authorities on all organised sport remained in place and there seems to be little hope that the restrictions will be eased any time soon.

In fact, Gauci has already announced that the ban on organised sport will not be one of the restrictions that will be eased as from next week.

During The Times of Malta Ask Charmaine column, the Superintendent for Health was asked why a distinction between elite and recreational sport was made when restrictions were put in place.

But Gauci said that since sport is practised without masks worn it contributed to being classified as high risk and it was difficult for them to make a distinction between elite and recreational sport.

“In most cases, organised sport leads to close contact of athletes, with the sport practised without masks worn. This contributes to the activity being high risk, especially since breathing during strenuous exercise brings about an increase in the volumes of air breathed in and out and in the number of breaths taken per unit time,” Gauci said.

“As the rate of breathing increases, the potential of spraying out infected droplets from someone who unknowingly has COVID is, therefore, higher.

“This phenomenon is the same across all levels of sport, which brings together relatively large groups of people without wearing a mask.

“It is not always easy to distinguish elite sport from recreational sport, however, the legal instrument on organised sport catered for the training of national teams. It has allowed elite athletes, due to competing in high-level international competitions, to conduct their training schedules.”

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