The purpose of this biweekly update is to keep everyone within the Paralympic Movement informed of the latest developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to the Paralympic Games and Para sport.
This week’s update contains the following information:
· Building back better in a post COVID-19 world – the IPC support for the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities
· Latest updates from Tokyo 2020
· Latest World Health Organisation update
This week’s newsletter highlights the support we will be giving on 3 December to the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which this year has a strong COVID-19 theme.
For the day, we have planned some major news announcements that will be of note to all Members, some exciting announcements related to I’mPOSSIBLE, the Para Sports Against Stigma Initiative, and the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games.
We want this mail to continually highlight initiatives that National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), International Federations (IFs) and athletes are doing. If you would like to let us know about your story or raise awareness of any other initiative, then please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building back better in a post COVID-19 world - the IPC support for UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Next Thursday, 3 December is one of most important days in the disability awareness calendar, and this year, the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) will have a COVID-19 element at its core.
The theme of this year’s IDPD is ‘Building Back Better’, aimed at working ‘toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world’.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will have two headline announcements to support IDPD – the full details of these are being kept under wraps until 3 December, but one will be a historic agreement to improve inclusivity, and the other will be a story that is relevant to these times and will be welcomed by the all of the IPC’s members.
And that’s not all the announcements:
· On 2 December, we will be providing more details of our broadcast plans that will support our Para Sports Against Stigma initiative in the Sub Saharan Africa – this announcement will be of particular note for the NPCs in the region.
· IDPD sees the IPC celebrating the third anniversary of the I’mPOSSIBLE education programme, and we will be announcing some exciting updates.
· Of note to members in the Americas is that we will announce the sports programme for the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games.
Additionally, to support the day, the IPC is creating a ‘home page takeover’ for IDPD. This means that all our content on 3 December will be dedicated to IDPD. Content we have planned includes:
· A feature on Hermione-Rose Allen, the U12 winner of the recent IPC Inclusive Sports Challenge.
· An athlete in Singapore who is a member of her parliament and a wheelchair fencer from Italy who has engineering designs on the future of prosthetics.
Across social media, the IPC will be using the hashtags #ImPOSSIBLE and #ChangeStartsWithSport. All content will be cross-posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Tokyo 2020 & IPC updates
Playbooks point the way ahead in Tokyo 2020 Planning Review
The IPC, IOC and Tokyo 2020 held a joint Project Review between 16-18 November. The meetings reaffirmed the full commitment of all partners to deliver Paralympic and Olympic Games fit for a post-corona world, next year.
All parties agreed on the importance of clear and timely communications over the coming months, with a project to develop a series of Playbooks. Created by the IPC, IOC and Tokyo 2020, these will be designed as guidelines for each stakeholder group and will include important information about the measures that will be in place and what it will mean for their Games experience.
A key element within these Playbooks will be details of COVID-19 countermeasures. This topic was covered in great detail during the Project Review as work continues to identify optimal solutions to host the Games next year in a safe and secure environment, to protect both the local Japanese population and all visitors, including athletes, officials and spectators. There will be a toolbox of measures ready to implement depending on the situation next July.
Updates were provided on the development of vaccines, testing and infection control while also covering stakeholder journeys to Tokyo, during the Games and departure. A key part of this process has been learning from the resumption of top tier sport across the world, with findings regularly shared amongst delivery partners.
In addition, all parties reiterated their determination to explore further opportunities for optimisations and simplifications following the recent announcement of more than 50 measures that will deliver an estimated EUR 331 million in cost savings from the operational budget.
President of the IPC, Andrew Parsons, who joined remotely said: “Never before in history has such a level of planning and preparation gone into the organisation of a major sport event. No stone is being left unturned as all partners work together to ensure safe, secure and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer in Tokyo.
“This level of work and commitment by all Games delivery partners will not be in vain. After a terrible 2020, we are determined that 2021 will bring new hope. The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a celebration of human diversity and ability, a global showcase of resilience and the starting point for a better, more inclusive post-corona world.”
“Prepare for the Games,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Bach tells athletes.
Following the completion of the Tokyo 2020 Project Review that the IPC held jointly with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 a fortnight ago, IOC President Thomas Bach last week encouraged athletes from around the world to get ready for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the video released on the IOC website and filmed from the Olympic and Paralympic Village, Bach said, "You will never ever forget these moments … in all your life. And with the conditions our Japanese friends are offering here, the experience will be even more fantastic. This is the place to be nine months from now.”
Tokyo Governor – “We’ll do whatever we can to put on the Games”
The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, remains steadfast that Japan will deliver a safe Games. Although there has been a modest increase in COVID-19 infections in Japan - the country of 126 million people has nationwide daily total of around 2,000 – they remain on track to deliver a triumph of a Games.
Koike told a news conference in Tokyo this week: “As the host city, I'm determined to achieve the Games whatever it takes."
Koike said, widespread use of masks among the Japanese is one of most effective safety measures that have spared Japan from the high rate of infections that have taken place in the United States and Europe.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic competition schedule
Tokyo 2020 Qualification
The qualification regulations for all 22 sports can be found here: https://www.paralympic.org/tokyo-2020/qualification-criteria
Para sport event postponements and cancellations
The list of cancelled Para sport events remains on the IPC website and is being regularly updated. You can find details here.
World Health Organisation update
According to WHO’s latest Daily Situation Dashboard on 26 November 2020 09:54 CEST, the number of confirmed worldwide cases has risen to nearly 60 million, although John Hopkins University of Medicine is reporting that over 34 million people have recovered.
Once again, there is good news and bad. More cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past four weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic. Across Europe and North America, hospitals and ICU units are filling up or full.
However, with the latest positive news from vaccine trials, the WHO notes that the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel is growing brighter. There is now real hope that vaccines – in combination with other tried and tested public health measures – will help to end the pandemic.
The significance of this scientific achievement cannot be overstated. No vaccines in history have been developed as rapidly as these. The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development.
Equally however, the WHO has challenged the international community to have a new standard to access - the poorest and most vulnerable, many of whom will be persons with disabilities, should not get left behind.
The IPC continues to use the WHO and their site as its main source of information regarding the COVID-19. It provides regular situation reports and have a wide range of guidance on health and protection, travel advice, as well as extensive myth-busting and technical guidance sections
Their 'Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19' guidance can be accessed on this link.
WHO’s WhatsApp messaging service
WHO’s WhatsApp messaging service is providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in seven languages: Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
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