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National Sports Festival: Organisers insist athletes must take Covid-19 tests, vaccine

THE Local Organising Committee and the Main Organising Committee of the National Sports Festival have mandated that athletes coming for the event must have proof that they are Covid-free before attending.

Benin City, Edo State will host the thrice-postponed multi-sport gathering from 2 April to 14 April, and the state’s Deputy Governor Phillip Shaibu has issued guidelines to intending participants.

“The Main Organising Committee (under the sports ministry) has decided that all athletes/officials from the 36 states and the FCT participating in the National Sports Festival must take COVID-19 tests 72 hours before arrival for the tournament,” a statement signed by Shaibu, who is the Local Organising Committee chairman, said on Sunday.

“All athletes/officials are to take COVID-19 vaccines at least 12 days before arrival for the tournament.

“Athletes/officials are to present certificates and documentation of Covid-19 tests and vaccination before they can be admitted into the Games Villages in the state.”

The Covid-19 vaccine recently arrived in Nigeria and has been distributed to all the states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Also due to the virus and financial constraints, the sports ministry last week announced that the number of athletes at the festival, still tagged Edo 2020 to reflect the year it was originally scheduled to take place, would be cut down from 14,000 to 8,000.

“Officials of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control will arrive in Benin City four days to the commencement of the festival, to monitor compliance with COVID-19 guidelines,” the statement added.

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