Norovirus outbreak hits athletes competing at World Championships in London

At least 30 World Championships athletes and support staff have fallen ill due to a potential outbreak of norovirus, public health officials in England disclose. Some individuals, as reports indicate, have even been put into quarantine.

 It is reported that the athletes have been staying at The Tower Hotel in London, where the virus seemed to have manifested and spread.

Staff at the hotel have however made the verdict that the accommodation that they have provided to the athletes is “not the source of illness”. This was concluded due to the respective investigations with environmental health officers that have already taken place.

The Tower Hotel furthermore made the statement: “We have followed strict hygiene protocol, ensuring that those affected are not in contact with other guests and all public areas have been thoroughly sanitised.”

Falcon Sedimo, chief executive of the Botswana national sports commission, has willingly said that he does not blame the hotel for what has happened. He expressed his view that:
“We can’t blame anybody because, for starters, we don’t know how this came about”.

A number of athletes have had no choice but to withdraw from events in the first half of the Championships tournament, as a result of symptoms such as vomiting.

Among those that have been affected is Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, a 400m contender. Makwala himself was forced to withdraw from Tuesday’s final due to his vomiting.

But determined to not to let his condition get the better of him, Makwala turned up at the stadium, rearing to prepare for his 400m. His appearance was however dealt with by two security guards, who blocked the entrance to the stadium’s track and escorted the athlete back to the hotel.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the athlete said: “I could have run. I did my warm up well and I was ready to run. This is bad. Sometimes I feel heartbroken. Yesterday, I was ready for this. I worked hard for this.”

Another competitor that was also unfortunately affected was Ireland’s Thomas Barr, whose condition prevented him from taking part in the 200m hurdle on Monday. The athlete told the Guardian:“I wasn’t feeling great yesterday evening, and later in the night I was hit with a bout of gastroenteritis,”

With regards to the other competitors, it has been reported that the thirty German athletes that have recently arrived in London were moved to other hotels. German team spokesman, Peter Schmitt, said that this decision is “purely a precautionary measure”.

By Kalendra Withana

Sources – BBC News, The Guardian

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