In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus threat in the country, the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) will minimise dope testing of the athletes to combat the spread of the disease.
NADA takes help from government doctors to conduct dope tests but all medical officers are busy in the wake of rising in coronavirus cases. "The doctors we have in NADA are government employees and they work with us as part timers. Whenever we need, we call them otherwise. They are already in the hospital. Due to the coronavirus, they are overburdened and so we do not want to disturb them for this work."
"So, we have minimised the dope testing. When it is really required, we will do the test," NADA Director General and CEO Navin Agarwal said
Agarwal stated that the Tokyo bound-athletes will be tested as prior as they are on 'high risk' category.
"The testing will go on only for Olympics athletes who are on high risk. Otherwise, we are not doing any testing as of now. Due to the logistics, there would also be various issues in the transportation of samples and other things," he said.
The NADA Director General and CEO added that social distancing is the best way to prevent oneself from being contracted and all the dope testing officers and athletes will take proper precautions.
"The most important thing is social distancing. So, we are keeping everything in mind. It should not be transmitted from athletes to doctors or vice-versa. The health and protection of athletes and dope control officers are paramount. The entire dope testing programme has been thoroughly minimised," he said.
Asked about what precautions will NADA take, Agarwal said, "Of course, we have issued instructions wherever tests are to be carried out. They will use all the protective measures and equipment. WADA has also issued guidelines and DCO himself has to be free of all symptoms."
NADA will support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to thank healthcare providers by clapping from their homes on March 22 at 5 pm.
"For the last two months, millions are working day and night in hospitals and airports, and those serving others by not taking care of themselves. On March 22, at 5 pm, we should stand on our doorways, balconies, in our windows and keep clapping hands and ringing the bells for five minutes to salute and encourage them," Modi had said on Thursday while addressing the nation.
Agarwal further said, "You know the strain on the health care system of the country. It is quite tremendous, doctors should be applauded. We all will be applauding our doctors and service personnel who are working despite the threat to their own safety tomorrow at 5 pm."
Following government instructions, the NADA had asked its 50 per cent employees to work from home.