Zero COVID-19 cases result from Egypt 2021 draw
24 Sep. 2020
The IHF and the organising committee for the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship are pleased to report that no positive COVID-19 cases have resulted from the draw event held in Egypt in early September.
“The draw was extremely successful from the point of view of the Medical Commission. We are pleased to report that the measures in place proved a success, as zero positive cases of COVID-19 resulted from the event,” said Chairman of the Egypt 2021 Medical Commission, Dr Hazem Khamis. “In this way, the memorable draw event remains a brilliant example of what we in Egypt hope to show the world in January. We are pleased that the draw will remain untainted by any negative medical news.”
Dr Khamis is also part of the IHF COVID-19 Medical Task Force formed in July, mainly to manage the medical measures surrounding the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship as well as other pinnacle events that will form part of the 2021 calendar, such as the Olympic Games qualification tournaments. Dr Khamis is Professor of Cardiology and General Manager of Wadi El-Neel Hospital Cairo.
Dr Khamis outlined the steps that were taken by the Egypt 2021 Medical Commission to ensure maximum safety at the draw: “First of all, it is important to know that we are and have been following the recommendations set by the World Health Organization and the Egyptian Ministry of Health, prevention sector. These form the basis from which we have created the specific measures surrounding the World Championship, where the basic concept is a bubble for all involved.
“Regarding the draw, the limited number of delegations who travelled to Egypt for the draw event were accommodated in a nearby hotel, which was directly connected to the draw location. All IHF and organising committee guests were accommodated in one building, where the staff were also fully within the bubble concept. All of this – the hotel and the access route to the draw location – were fully sterilised,” said Dr Khamis.
“At the draw itself, attendance numbers were strictly limited, with just 134 people present. To ensure social distancing at all times, the guests were divided into groups – public figures, invited guests and media – and each group entered via different gates. Once inside, 1.5m distancing was maintained in the seating plan. In addition, the area around the Pyramids Plateau was purified.”
The medical success of draw is one positive step towards the World Championship, the hosting of which during the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly introduced significant challenges for the organisers. The draw ceremony was a spectacular event and brought the global handball community together – mainly with considerable virtual interest – in anticipation after a long period of uncertainty regarding when games of any level would be back.
The fact that the ceremony is not marred by any positive COVID-19 tests means that the event will remain a highlight of what was otherwise a quiet period for handball around the world. Dr Khamis is aware of the importance of the medical measures in contributing to the best possible event and presentation from Egypt to the world come January.
“Egypt, represented by Prime Minister Dr Mostafa Madbouly as the Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee, is proud to be the organiser for the upcoming historic World Championship, which will feature 32 teams for the first time and is taking place in remarkably challenging circumstances. But we are ready,” said Dr Khamis.
“On this occasion, the Medical Committee have significant responsibility – more than at any handball World Championship in recent years or perhaps in history. We aim to prove that to the world that the medical capabilities in Egypt are of the highest level and to the World Health Organization standard. In doing so, we aim to help Egypt present the best possible event to the world.”
The 27th IHF Men’s World Championship will take place in Egypt from 13 to 31 January, 2021.