UPDATED Saturday 14March 20206:30pm

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update International Events
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement this afternoon, requiring a 14 day self-solation period for anyone coming into New Zealand, Bowls New Zealand is correctly reviewing its participation in international events and the hosting of international events. These include the World Champs in May/June (and associated camps in April) and the hosting of the IBD World Champs later in the year.  Kaushik Patel (HP Manager, Bowls NZ) will be in contact with all high performance athletes and support staff, as decisions are made.

Restrictions of mass events
The Prime Minister has also indicated that early next week, there will be restrictions placed upon large mass events, which in turn will ask questions of our bowls community.  Whilst it is unlikely that restrictions will be placed upon gatherings of less than 100persons, we are mindful that due to the demographics of the bowls community, we need to be especially vigilant.  The bowls community (clubs and centres) should consider their club members health to be of upmost priority.  We should also follow any communication and directives from the Government and Ministry of Health (MoH).

Intercentre and Secondary Schools
The Bowls NZ North v South Challenge and Intercentre commence this Thursday, with the NZ Secondary Schools Nationals taking place at the end of the month. At this stage no decision has been made on postponing or cancelling these events. Bowls NZ will review its position on these three events over the next 48hours and will provide an update for all participants by 5pmMonday 16-March, having considered any mass event restrictions imposed by the government and also having considered the feedback of our community.

PREVIOUS UPDATE (Friday 13March)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasingly having an impact on the global community and is rapidly evolving.  Government agencies including the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to provide accurate, timely and detailed updates relevant to the whole community.  Bowls New Zealand has been working with Sport NZ and HPSNZ in assessing the impact of this significant health event on the play, active recreation and sport system and issuing information as relevant in conjunction with lead agencies including the MoH and MFAT.  It is recommended that all individuals and organisations in the play, active recreation and sport sector continue to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health who are able to share the latest information on a range of topics from travel to holding public events and mass gatherings.

Advice to date indicates individuals should be vigilant with personal hygiene and avoid people with cold or flu symptoms. Physical activity often involves being together in groups or at events. At this stage, the Ministry of Health is not recommending any changed approach to holding gatherings and events. The risk of becoming unwell with COVID-19 without a history of travel to countries significantly impacted by COVID-19 in the last 14 days is very low. As a result, there are no current restrictions on New Zealanders participating in or attending sporting or large public events.

What specific challenges do bowlers need to consider when evaluating infection transmission in higher risk environments (competitions, events, etc.)?
•In a team environment, there will be increased proximity and duration of physical contact that can facilitate the transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens. Research in respiratory infections in travelling sporting teams suggests that the most likely pattern of spread occurs from within a team, rather than from external sources.
•Close physical contact with an opponent may expose a player to risk. For example, tennis has effectively no contact between opponents. Combat sports, however, may involve significant close contact for minutes at a time.  Risks related to bowls include picking up teammates or opponents bowls, shaking hands, etc.
•Size and proximity of crowds attending the event. Any mass gathering represents an increased opportunity for infection spread. WHO has produced a document outlining the Key Considerations.
•There is no need to alter your exercise or training if you are feeling well.
•There is no need to wear a mask in public if you are well.
•If you become unwell prior to travel, it is recommended that you organise a review with your GP prior to travel, to ensure it is medically safe to travel.
•If you become unwell and are due to play or train, it is recommended that you do not attend training or competition, and organise a review with your GP to ensure it is safe to train and minimise infectious spread.

Advice for event organisers is published on the MoH dedicated web pages (www.health.co.nz). There is also a Healthline COVID-19 number-0800358 5453. With respect to outbound travel by athletes and related officials to other countries, you should again follow the latest information provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.For those athletes and officials attending international events on behalf of Bowls New Zealand (including the upcoming World Champs in May/June), Kaushik Patel, High Performance Manager for Bowls NZ (kaushik@bowlsnewzealand.co.nz), will be in contact providing the latest updates. If you have a question not covered by Ministry of Health information, or specific to the bowls context, please feel free to contact any of Bowls New Zealand’s staff, as usual.

Ngā mihi
Mark Cameron
CEO, Bowls New Zealand
Mobile: Email: +64 21 270 8060