Surakarta, Central Java (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry affirmed that health facilities will be readied to cater to athletes competing in the XI ASEAN Para Games in Surakarta, Central Java, next July.

"We and the mayor (Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka) are preparing (health facilities for the) ASEAN Para Games in Surakarta, and we will first observe the venues. (The preparation will also) include coordinating with local health offices and the NPC (National Paralympic Committee)," Health Ministry's Director of Productive Age and Elderly Health Kartini Rustandi stated here on Tuesday.

The authority will ensure readiness in health services, environmental health, and food cleanliness and safety aspects, the official noted.

Preparedness of healthcare facilities in the Greater Surakarta area, including hospitals and public health centres, will also be monitored, she stated.

"(The preparation will also) include health facilities in Semarang because one competition will be organised in Semarang. Health officers will also be stationed at every competition venue," Rustandi remarked.

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The ministry will ready hospitals to cater to the athletes' special needs, including handling possible injuries that athletes might experience, she noted, adding that neurologists will be on call during the event.

She affirmed that the ministry is currently conceiving precautionary measures against a likely surge in COVID-19 cases forecast to occur in the following months.

"We are still deliberating this issue, yet the NPC has readied a bubble system. On account of the current condition, we will adjust our measures with regulations from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and the Home Affairs Ministry. We will prepare everything," Rustandi remarked.

Rustandi noted that health protocols, including vaccination requirements, registration on the PeduliLindungi application, and mandatory wearing of masks and temperature checks, will be enforced among athletes and match spectators.

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Meanwhile, Surakarta Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka noted that athletes competing in the same sports would be placed in the same hotels to streamline the management process.

"The bubble will be created according to each sport to anticipate a surge in COVID-19 cases. Athletes will not stroll around. They will remain in the hotel. They will also undergo daily COVID-19 PCR tests," Raka stated.

According to the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, some 1,648 athletes from 11 countries will participate in the event held from July 30 to August 6, 2022.

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Translator: Aris Wasita, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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