Sevens players catch a break from quarantine

Players in the upcoming Hong Kong Sevens will be allowed to train during their quarantine period as long as they test negative for Covid, sports commissioner Yeung Tak-keung said.

Yeung also said yesterday there are currently no plans to require spectators to get tested.

This came after mass sporting events were ordered to cap participant numbers to 500 last week amid a recent noticeable uptick in Covid cases, which hit 9,494 yesterday.

But Yeung said the nature of those sporting events are different and expects the Hong Kong Sevens will not be affected by the curb.

"Sporting events such as the New World Harbour Race involves a large number of participants taking off masks during the race, while the Hong Kong Sevens will only be played among athletes and there is less contact with the public," he said, adding that mass sporting events fall under two categories depending on participant numbers and their nature.

The Sevens will be held in a "closed-loop" system in which players from 16 teams will be transported to training and competition venues point to point, lowering the chance of close contacts with the public. This includes undergoing a "3+4" mandatory hotel quarantine.

"During the three days of quarantine, players can only train in designated venues with negative test results," Yeung said.

The maximum number of spectators for all sporting events are capped at 80 percent of a venue's full capacity. Spectators have to follow Covid rules, such as scanning the LeaveHomeSafe app with valid vaccination records and keeping masks on during a match. They will be allowed to drink but not eat in the stands.

The Sevens, last held in 2019, will be returning to Hong Kong Stadium from November 4 to 6.

The Sevens clarification came after news that the 16th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, organized by the International Dragon Boat Federation, may be axed due to the hotel quarantine policy for rowers.

The event is scheduled for August 7 to 13, but the organizer is considering moving the Hong Kong race to Thailand.

Yeung said the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association has not proposed any suggestions regarding the championship.