The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Equestrian Canada (EC) is closely monitoring news from the World Health Organization, Canadian sport system partners, national and local authorities to help minimize the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we endeavour to provide the best possible level of service while simultaneously protecting the health and wellbeing of our community and employees.

Office Operations
Effective March 16, 2020, the Equestrian Canada (EC) office will be temporarily closed and staff will be working remotely. The return to office date is set for April 6, 2020; however, given daily changes to the status of the COVID-19 outbreak, there may be adjustments to this schedule.

During this time, day-to-day business operations will continue as normal, except for those requiring in-office activities, in-person meetings or travel. Please expect delayed processing times for items sent via mail or courier, including FEI Passports.

EC staff will remain accessible via phone and email during office hours. A full listing of EC staff and contact information can be found on our website at

Regarding the status of EC sanctioned competition, please connect directly with the event’s competition organizer.

In terms of international competition, we strongly recommend refraining from international travel to countries that have been identified as having high outbreaks of the coronavirus for the foreseeable future.

EC is communicating closely with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) to monitor competition status around the world. For the status of FEI events, please check their online database and read the statement below.

The FEI is following the matter closely and is in regular contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The IOC is collaborating directly with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Games Group public health experts, as well as the relevant sport and government authorities. In addition, the FEI has issued the following advisory regarding the Coronavirus which can be found here.

In addition, the IOC has advised us that countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games. Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organisations. In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organisation, as well as its own medical experts.

EC encourages the continued use of biosecurity best practices to ensure the health and safety of humans and equines alike. For information on COVID-19 as it relates to equines and recommended practices for biosecurity, please visit following resources:

Joint Message from Own the Podium’s Sport Medicine Advisory Committee

Click here for original posting.

General Information
This joint message is from the Own the Podium led Sport Medicine Advisory Committee comprised of Chief Medical Officers from the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN). It is meant to guide National Sporting Organizations (NSOs) in decision-making with respect to travel to competitions within and outside Canada. Information has been obtained from the World Health Organization, Government of Canada and Australian Institute of Sports websites. Other references are listed in this document.

COVID-19 is a virus in the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses in this family are responsible for illnesses that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). COVID-19 is a new virus and so health officials are still learning about its impact and severity. At this time, it appears to cause an illness similar to the flu with the most common signs of infection being fever, cough and shortness of breath. In severe cases patients can develop pneumonia, severe respiratory distress, kidney failure and death.

Epidemiology: The numbers
The reports from China suggest that with COVID-19:

  • 1% have no symptoms
  • 81% have mild symptoms
  • 14% have severe symptoms that cause them to miss work or go to the hospital
  • 5% have severe symptoms that lead to ICU admission, including a fatality rate of 2.3%
  • The fatality rate is highest in those that are elderly and have other medical conditions
  • The estimate of risk to athletes (i.e., younger and healthier) is thought to be similar to the risk of health care workers; 0.3% fatality rate

Wu and McGoogan JAMA 2020-02-24 Characteristics of and Lessons from COVID-19 in China
The number of cases in Canada is small. At this time the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Canada is very low.

Clinical Course
It appears that COVID-19 is more contagious than the typical influenza virus.
The virus is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets. Those that are experiencing symptoms are more likely to spread the illness than those that have the illness but do not have symptoms. There is ongoing research to determine if there are other possible modes of transmission such as fecal or air.

The estimated incubation period (time from initial expose to onset of symptoms) is between 1-14 days but is about five days on average. Symptoms can persist for longer than three weeks, although the duration of illness will be highly variable.

Recommendations for protecting yourself and preventing spread of this illness include frequent hand washing and covering both your nose and mouth when coughing. Try to cough or sneeze into your arm, away from others, or into tissue paper (to be disposed in toilet). Wash your hands immediately afterwards. You should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

Research on respiratory infections in travelling sporting teams suggests that the most likely pattern of spread occurs within a team, rather than from external sources. When an unwell team member joins the team, due to regular close physical contact between team members, the infections can spread readily (Valtonen et al, 2019). Consideration should be given for delaying travel for team members who are unwell.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19
Because the early symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, if you have any of the common symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath) you should contact your doctor’s office and arrange to have a consultation.

At this time, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19. The goals of medical management are to identify other treatable causes of illness (such as influenza), manage any complications from COVID-19 and provide advice on how to limit the transmission from known cases.
There are efforts internationally to produce a vaccine and to identify if any of the currently available antiviral medications are effective and safe. An update is expected to be released in mid-2020. A vaccine will likely take longer as it will have to go through longer clinical trials to confirm safety and efficacy.

Travelling to sporting events
We recommend that you check for up-to-date travel advisories from the Government of Canada at: Government of Canada COVID-19 Travel Advice.

On Airplanes
Vigilant hand and face hygiene should be practiced. Stay hydrated.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has published research into the risk of contracting Infectious Diseases on Aircraft. While there are currently no data available on the transmission risk for COVID-19 during airline travel, we look to the risk related to similar diseases, such as influenza and SARS. The ECDC concluded that the quality of evidence to assess the risk of transmission of influenza onboard an aircraft is not adequate. SARS transmission has been documented from airline travel with transmission most likely from those who are severely ill or those experiencing rapid deterioration, usually in the second week of their illness.

On Return from Travel
The Government of Canada advises that any travelers from the above countries should be vigilant for symptoms that may indicate a respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and report these symptoms immediately to their physician and avoid contact with others until they have been cleared to do so. What this means for sports is, if team members returning to Canada from the countries listed become unwell in the two weeks after return to Canada, they may need to be quarantined and tested for COVID-19. This should be taken into account when planning training camps and competition preparation.

Athletes and coaches who are currently unwell with fever, cough or shortness of breath should delay their flight and seek medical review. If you become unwell during your flight you should notify the flight attendants, place a P2 or N95 face mask on and seek medical review as soon as practical on arrival.

Face Masks
Face masks are most effective in preventing transmission when worn by people who are unwell. If you are well, masks only need to be worn by those who have close contact with those who are unwell (i.e., recommended for health care workers). Correct fitting of face masks is most important to their effectiveness. A good resource is the Australian New South Wales Health web site (How to Fit a Face Mask).

Considerations for Athletes, Coaches, Sport Organizations & Event Producers
Prior to travelling overseas for training camps and competitions

  • The risks associated with travel and competitions vary with multiple factors including location, age and origin of participants, indoor vs outdoor venues, and contact vs non-contact sports, among others. Check with your team physician, NSO CMO, or SMAC CMO for detailed consideration of these issues.
  • Make an appointment with your team physician or regular doctor prior to departure to ensure that your vaccinations are up-to-date and that you will have enough of your regular medications, with the appropriate documentation, for your entire trip and at least an additional week. Vaccinations need to be administered well in advance of travel to be effective.
  • It is best to have contingency travel plans in place with the ability to change flights if needed.
  • There is no need to alter your exercise or training if you are feeling well, nor do you need to wear a mask in public.

Other Resources

Further Questions

Further information about COVID-19 may be obtained from your NSO Chief Medical Officer or Team Physician, or the Chief Medical Officers of the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mike Wilkinson, Canadian Olympic Committee:
Dr. Andy Marshall Canadian, Paralympic Committee:
Dr. Suzanne Leclerc, Institut National du Sport du Québec:
Dr. Doug Richards, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario:
Dr. Brian Benson, Canadian Sport Institute Calgary:
Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific:

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