COVID-19: Swimming Pools to Be Tested Every Day

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The Ministry of Sports has published elaborate guidelines on the resumption of swimming activities which were approved by the cabinet meeting last week.

Swimming pool owners, staff, and visitors have separate guidelines that should be observed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In this context, owners have to show clearly the safety of the swimming pool itself, to assure users that nothing wrong would happen to them in regard to the pandemic.

Public notice of swimming pool hygiene-cleaning guidelines should be posted and visible to the customers and so should be the notice on the number of people allowed in the pool.

The Ministry of Sports directed that the owners should “conduct pool testing every day before and after usage.”

Explaining this test, Alphonsine Mukamunana, in charge of the Infection Prevention and Control(IPC) section at Rwanda Biomedical Centre told KT Press, that water standards require that the level of Chlorine be superior to 0.1 which is able to kill COVID-19 virus within one minute.

“The virus is killed by chlorine’s concentration of 0.5 and 0.1 in some cases. The test to be conducted before the use of the pool intends to make sure that the Chlorine quantity in the water would be enough to kill the virus if an infected person uses the pool,” Mukamunana said.

According to Mukamunana, the Chlorine of the pool’s water varies between 1.5 to 3 which is far superior to the minimum level required to kill COVID-19.

Due to evaporation during the day, however, Mukamunana advises that a swimming pool should not be used if the Chlorine level is below 3 since the Chlorine evaporates durinhg the day and could go below standards which would put users at risk.

“If the chlorine is at a low level, using a pool would put swimmers at risk. Swimming pool managers have chlorimeters and PH meters, they know this,” Mukamunana said.

In other guidelines, pool owners should avail outdoor showers for use by clients before going into the pool and should make sure that the booking of the swimming pool hours is done online.

Swimming sessions should be of two hours maximum.

Among others, the side pool space should also show signs of physical distance in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

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This physical distance applies even inside the pool whereby swimmers should maintain a 2.5-meter distance.

Beginners may still need to wait for the situation to stabilise because the ministry guidelines indicate that swimming trainers are not allowed for the time being.

A swimming pool user will keep wearing the face mask outside the pool and have personal hand sanitizer that they should use whenever needed be.

Hotel clients, the Ministry said that they can use swimming pools at their convenience, provided respect of COVID-19 preventive measures.

The Ministry of Sports advises that if anyone has a fever, coughing, and other potential symptoms of the COVID-19, they should desist from swimming.

For staff managing the swimming pools, the Ministry directs that they should be given required training, equipment, and protection meant to prevent COVID-19 spread.

For the time being, swimming in open waters, like in lakes, ponds and rivers is only allowed to professionals doing their training, but they should also have authorization.

Swimming competitions are also allowed upon authorization of the Ministry of Sports.

Business-oriented swimming will also be allowed after a request addressed to the  Ministry of Sports with a copy to the CEO of Rwanda Development Board(RDB). Assessment will follow this request.

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