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Top rider tests positive for coronavirus following international show

Top showjumper Olivier Philippaerts is in quarantine after testing positive for conoravirus on his return from a five-star show in France.

The Belgian rider, ranked 30th in the world, was competing at both weeks of Hubside Jumping’s shows in St Tropez (20-23 August and 27-30 August), which held classes at CSI*, CSI2*, CSI4* and CSI5*. Riders from a host of nations, including Britain, were also competing at the show.

The Philippaerts family announced yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 2 September) that Olivier was in quarantine following a positive test.

“Olivier won’t start the Belgian Championships in Zangersheide today,” said the statement.

“After returning from Saint-Tropez, a zone at risk, Olivier tested positive on Covid-19.

“Even though he doesn’t show any symptoms of corona[virus] so far, the result was positive. “Therefore, he’s forced to quarantine and so he can’t participate at the Belgian championship. He’s getting a new test on Monday. If the result is negative, he can start riding at shows again.”

A spokesman for Hubside Jumping told H&H it is too early to comment at present, but all rules and requirements from the local Préfecture (local authority) have been fully respected at its shows.

There are strict rules for international fixtures running during the pandemic, which are outlined in the FEI policy for enhanced competition safety.

These include screening, social distancing, extra hygiene measures, masks and extensive risk assessments.

H&H has contacted the FEI to ask whether the positive test will have implications for others.

H&H also contacted British Equestrian to find out what a positive test at show where British riders were competing would mean for them.

The BEF’s chief medical officer, Pippa Bennett, told H&H that an isolated positive test would not result in all others at the event needing to isolate.

“All sporting events should be following Covid guidance with regard to maintaining social distancing, hand hygiene with additional alcohol hand gels and cleaning of any communal areas/shared equipment,” said Dr Bennett.

“All events in this country should keep a record of attendance with contact details that test and trace can then use

“Only those people who have come into close contact with a positive tested person would be advised to isolate for 14 days. Close contact is defined as within 2m for more than 15 minutes.”

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