Hong Kong Recreation and Sports Professionals General Union said authorities should treat swimming pools equally as other sports centers and playgrounds -- which have been reopened since Thursday.

It stressed swimming is not a sport with high risk and recommended reopening pools to schools and organizations first in the second phase of the relaxation of Covid rules -- for which the government has yet to spell out the exact date.

The union cited studies and said the chlorine added into the pools could also kill the germs and viruses, and it would be enough if citizens were vaccinated and wore a mask before and after the swim.

The union also suggested government refer to the “circuit breaker” flight suspension mechanism and close a swimming pool for thorough disinfection only when cases have been detected at a specific swimming pool.

The union pointed out that swimming pools were closed multiple times amid the pandemic, and distinct decreases in the number of swimming club students were observed. In addition, patients with special needs were also barred from aquatic rehabilitation exercises.

Swimming coaches have switched to other industries, and young and professional swimmers also lost training arenas, the union noted, worrying that the brain drain, in the long run, would affect swimmers’ performance in international events.