PSC: 5x5 basketball only permitted under ‘new normal’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) – The Philippine Sports Commission announced in its recently published guidelines that 5x5 basketball will only be permitted under the ‘new normal’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Framework Tool for Reintroducing Sport in a COVID-19 Environment crafted by the Philippine Sports Institute Medical Scientific and Athletic Services, 5x5 basketball in the ‘new normal’ will allow practices and games in a public location using a shared equipment.

“The priority at all times must be to preserve public health, without straining our health care system unnecessarily from sports related medical consults, and at the same time minimize the risk of community transmission of COVID-19,” the commission said.

The guidelines stated that all sports will be permitted to play under the ‘new normal’ situation in the country. These include organized sports leagues and competitions, whether individual or team sports.

The PSC determines the ‘new normal’ situation when the virus has been greatly eradicated in an area or if a treatment/vaccine is already available against the disease.

But before going to the ‘new normal’ scenario, PSC imposes a condition that all persons must undergo the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test once all restrictions are lifted by the national government.

However, most areas in the country are still under community quarantine due to the prevailing threat of COVID-19, which entails limitations in sports activities in these localities.

If an area is under enhanced community quarantine, the PSC guidelines restricts all outside sports activities and advises home workouts.

Under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) which is now implemented in Metro Manila and several provinces and cities in Regions 3 and 4-A, basketball drills are only allowed in front of their respective houses in an enclosed street.

Outdoor fitness activities like jogging and biking are considered as an essential travel under MECQ. Sports allowed in this community quarantine setting are running, badminton, kata events in karate, and open water swimming.

In a general community quarantine (GCQ) setup, public outdoor fitness and sports facilities are permitted to operate.

Only one person is allowed to use a public indoor location such as basketball courts, slides, swings, and circuit stations.

Personal interaction, such as sharing of balls, is also prohibited under GCQ.

The PSC also allowed the resumption of eight-lane swimming in GCQ areas, provided there will be no interaction in showers or changing rooms.

While in a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), multiple person interaction in 5x5 basketball is allowed but only limited to non-contact drills such as passing, agility, and ball skills. Scrimmages are still prohibited at this point.

Public indoor and commercial sports facilities are also allowed to open under MGCQ. In gyms, only individual workouts with their own equipment are permitted.

In addition, practices at public gyms and sports facilities are allowed at MGCQ only for solo events such as gymnastics.

For contact sports, only sparring against an equipment is acceptable and person-to-person sparring is still prohibited.

Other allowed sports activities under MGCQ identified by the PSC in the framework are baseball batting and fielding practice and non-interaction soccer practice.

The PSC reminded the public to observe physical distancing and wearing of face masks in all scenarios under the four community quarantine settings.

“The pandemic doesn’t have a “precise playbook.” The medical and scientific community are learning new information as the pandemic environment persists. Preparing a framework that is dynamic, reflective and as close to accurate as possible will make the transition as safe as possible,” the commission emphasized.