In 2019 a flu-like virus infection illness was detected in China, and soon all over the world. The first symptoms were misleading as they were mainly coughing, running nose, high fever. Soon it was globally realised that these symptoms were signalling something much worse than just a flu. When this new form of the corona virus family (SARS-CoV-2) reached the most vulnerable population, the elderly, the ill, it revealed to be as deadly as the Spanish Flue was 100 years ago. Realising how dangerous the situation is, the WHO declared it a pandemic and named the illness COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease–19). By that time countries were already at a complete halt, hospitals were full with patients fighting for their lives, but also there were many with the virus who had no symptoms at all, unknowingly spreading the disease.
This duality of a life-threatening illness and yet a large proportion of an asymptomatic population led to a decision that sports must stop completely, like most other sectors.
Judo had to stop, too, in order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus during training sessions or competitions. Being a contact sport, there is an even higher risk among the judo family compared to other sports. The virus is spread by droplet infection, eg. cough or sneeze, but also through breath or saliva, therefore until scientific research produced some guidance on how to tackle the challenge, it was not safe to practice judo at all.
The incubation period of the virus varies from 2-14 days. This means that from getting the virus until becoming contagious it takes only a few days, 4-6 being the average time span. This short period is reflected in the PCR requirements, allowing one or two full cycles, depending on the host country rules, for better detection and preventing the spreading of the corona virus among the judo family.
At the time of publishing this article, vaccination is already available. Besides effective testing, it is a powerful weapon against the virus, even though it does not prevent individuals from getting infected, it only prevents the majority from falling ill and mitigates the symptoms for all. Also, by blocking the reproductive mechanism of the virus it significantly shortens its life cycle, however at this point it is not proven for all the available vaccines that they prevent the virus carriers to be contagious, even though research shows a very low probability, yet it is not zero.
Therefore, until it is necessary, for example until vaccination reaches a high level among the judo family or there are other effective preventive methods available, and especially until it is globally accepted to conduct activities without safety measures, all the participants of any IJF event must follow the same protocol (being tested before the event, upon arrival, during the event, wear a mask, wash hands, follow the bubble system, etc.) to protect and be protected, in the spirit of unity and solidarity which is in our community’s moral code.