Only symptomatic players and staff in the elite game in England, which also includes the Premier 15s and Championship, will be tested

Premiership change Covid testing protocols

The Professional Game Board have agreed to only test symptomatic players and staff for Covid-19 across the elite game in England.

Since Covid testing became widely available, players and back-room staff in the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s and RFU Championship have been tested weekly. Those protocols will be paused to concentrate testing on those who are displaying symptoms.

The Professional Rugby Testing Oversight Group in England made the recommendation after consulting with medical experts in order to approve the move, which will come in with immediate affect.

“The safety of everyone involved in the game and the wider community has been our only priority,” said Chris Booy, the chair of the PGB.

“Every change we have made to the testing protocols and wider Covid-19 operating standards along the way has been guided by national guidance, expert medical advice and consideration of the risk posed to those involved in the English game – players, staff, management, and supporters.

“Following this extensive consultation, we are now able today to align more closely with national guidance and can reduce our testing to focus our testing on players or staff with Covid symptoms.

“All players and staff will continue to be monitored by their medical teams for those symptoms with any testing requirements and positive cases still coordinated and managed by club medical teams.”

The high levels of vaccinated players in each of the leagues is a key factor in this move. Booy said: “Currently, the proportion of fully vaccinated players and staff across the Premiership is 97%, in the AP15s 96% and in the Championship 94%.

“These rates represent a remarkable achievement from players and staff. In addition, the level of boosters in players and staff is well established and moving at pace.

“We need to remain prepared and vigilant. The UKHSA continues to monitor for the emergence of new variants of concern. We need to ensure that we can be flexible enough to return to weekly routine testing for all squads at short notice if required.”

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