A worker adds chlorine to the swimming pool at MBKS, which will remain closed to the general public until further notice. Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Swimming pools in the state are to remain closed to the general public, as pool operators and management comply with the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s directive to only allow pools for athletes’ training starting July 1.

Sarawak Sports Cooperation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee informed that the public was not allowed to use the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre, which is only for athletes’ training and also the Learn To Swim programme.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are already out and available on SSC’s website, he said when contacted today.

Dr Ong reminded athletes to follow the SOP that are in place.

“Please follow the SOP strictly as we do not want a new cluster. Please make sure training is done progressively according to the principles of training.

“Be focused and disciplined and make sure to have social distancing during training and once training is over, do not gather and always practice good hygiene,” he said.

As for the Learn To Swim programme, Dr Ong informed that the requirement under the SOP is to have a maximum three swimmers to one swimming instructor.

“They must be registered to swimming academies, clubs or associations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Club general manager Robert Brodie confirmed that the club does not intend to open the swimming pool yet as there was no SOP that will allow them to do so.

“From what we learnt about the SOP, it is only for athletes. We do not have athletes training at our pool.

“Our pool will remain closed to members. But we are all very anxious to reopen as a lot of people are looking forward to swimming again,” he said.

Robert shared that the club is making its own preparations for the eventual reopening of the pool.

“Do expect social distancing of five to 10 metres. We have made our own preparations, and are just waiting for further directive from SDMC,” he said.

Under the SOP for the second phase reopening of sports and recreation sectors starting July 1, recreational and rehabilitation swimming are still not allowed in the state until further notice.

For training and competitive swimming, it must be done in a controlled and structured manner and handled by registered sports bodies and academies.

Besides the general guidelines for all sectors such as temperature checks, use of hand sanitisers, social distancing and maintain personal hygiene, pool operators and management also need to ensure that those with infectious diseases or skin diseases are not to use the pool, to ensure users clean themselves before using the pool, and to conduct a water chlorine test every two hours during operation, among others.

The detailed SOP can be accessed on the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak website.

Sarawak has its own set of rules even as the National Security Council (MKN) has allowed all water sports and recreation facilities, including water theme parks, to resume operations from July 1.