The Jakarta Post
Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali has said the government will put athletes’ safety first and therefore not sending athletes to sporting events like the upcoming ASEAN Paragames in the Philippines could be an option if the coronavirus outbreak gets out of control.
“We need to discuss this first with all related stakeholders like the NPC, chef de mission, Health Ministry and our envoy. We put our athletes’ safety on top of the list and we will stick by this, even if it means that we must cancel our athletes’ deployment,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The statement was made following the announcement by Philippine Health Secretary Fransisco Duque regarding the first infected patient, who has been identified as a 38-year-old woman who arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan on Jan. 21 through Hong Kong, scmp.com reported on Thursday.
The patient was initially admitted to a government hospital with a mild cough and tested positive for the virus.
Zainudin said the government would also discuss this with the Philippine authorities and asked about their preparedness in handling the issue.
“We need to reevaluate and reassess the situation as the current outbreak demands of us. Insisting on sending our athletes to a high-risk place is pointless.”
Chef de mission of the Manila ASEAN Paragames Andi Herman had previously said he would wait for further instruction from the central government on this issue. Right now, he went on, the athletes would keep on training and also prepare for their departure.
“Our para-athletes have received the best treatment and they are in prime condition. So far, we have been instructed to keep going,” he said a few days ago.
The ASEAN Paragames have already been postponed over a lack of preparedness, from their initial schedule in January to mid-March. Indonesia is planning to send a large contingent of 550 people, comprising 300 athletes and 250 officials. The Indonesians are determined to retain their title as general champions, following their 2017 Paragames success in Kuala Lumpur where Indonesia was declared overall champion.