AFL quarantine hubs ‘viable’ when time is right, says epidemiologist


“If society choose to allow some activities to restart early, which includes sports events, then they will need to be very carefully quarantined from the rest of us,” Blakely said.

“Something like the AFL – if they chose to go to an island or create an inland island somewhere with extremely good quarantine – it’s viable. It’s just whether or not society wants it enough to justify it and whether the health authorities – who have to have the final say – think that the measures are strong enough.”

Blakely said the AFL would need to pay its own way when it came to obtaining testing equipment, with the AFL already aware that is likely. The league has also prioritised as part of its planning community health, adopting a strong leadership position in relation to government advice.

On Friday, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly encouraged major sporting bodies to plan a return-to-play strategy but emphasised it was not yet clear when it would be safe to resume.

“If we loosen the social distancing measures at the moment it can have implications down the track which are not foreseen,” Kelly said.

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Kelly also said sports such as the NRL needed to be aware of the age of key officials as they may be more vulnerable if they contracted COVID-19.

The AFL’s oldest coach is the Brisbane Lions’ Chris Fagan who is 58, but there are also several club doctors and trainers aged in their 50s.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has been adamant publicly and privately that the game would not resume before it was safe to do so and the AFL would follow the advice of government and public health experts.



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