Safety first priority of SEA Games 31, ASEAN Para Game 11

Health safety for athletes, members of delegations and audience is the top priority of the sport sector of Vietnam during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) and the 11th ASEAN Para Games (ASEAN Para Games 11), amid complicated COVID-19 developments.

According to Tran Duc Phan, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration, as the host of the regional events, the sport sector has been discussing and adjusting plans in order to propose optimal plans to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the Government for consideration. 

The sector has closely coordinated with relevant ministries, agencies and localities to make careful preparations for the events, slated in Vietnam later this year. 

He noted that before April 27 when the fourth COVID-19 wave hit Vietnam, the sector had worked with localities to prepare for the regional events as scheduled, but after the detection of a number of COVID-19 cases in some localities that were chosen to host some sports, the administration had halted the preparation work. 

Regarding difficulties facing the sector in the current situation, Phan said all countries in the region are suffering the COVID-19 pandemic. So the travelling among countries becomes complicated due to entry-exit regulations and pandemic prevention and control measures. 

Besides, venues for SEA Games 31 are arranged in 12 cities and provinces, and there are no athletes’ villages in Vietnam to host members of delegations from participating countries. So that, they will stay in 40 different hotels and have to move to competition locations, making the pandemic prevention and control more difficult, he stressed. 

According to initial calculations, in the context of no outbreak, the two events will welcome about 25,000 athletes, coaches, officials, referees, reporters, fans and tourists, said Phan, adding that ensuring safety for such a large number of people at the same time is a great challenge for the organising board. 

Phan said postponing the events to 2022 must be calculated appropriately, adding the events should be held in the first half of 2022, so that Cambodia can prepare to hold the 32rd SEA Games in 2023.

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