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Swim England calls for pools to reopen at ‘earliest available opportunity’

Saddened Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has insisted swimming pools must be included in the list of facilities allowed to open at the ‘earliest available opportunity’ after the country was plunged into a third national lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed tougher restrictions should be followed immediately in a bid to tackle the spread of the new variant of coronavirus.

In a live address to the nation, Mr Johnson said the NHS was ‘under more pressure from coronavirus at any time since the start of the pandemic’ with more than 27,000 people currently in hospital with the disease.

The latest emergency measures mean indoor and outdoor swimming pools will have to close and all organised sporting activity and swimming lessons will come to a halt.

It was also announced that all schools will close until at least February half-term.

Jane said she was devastated to see pools being forced to close again, especially as ‘they help people cope with a range of physical impairments that can ease the pressure on overcrowded hospitals’.

Another hammer blow

She said: “We clearly don’t want to see pools closing and it’s so very upsetting that are we faced with this extremely distressing situation once again.

“Aquatic activity is a lifeline to so many people – not least our members and their affiliated clubs – and that’s why we will be doing everything we can to make sure pools are among the first facilities to reopen at the earliest available opportunity when it is deemed safe to do so.

“We will continue to keep fighting for pools to be classed as essential services and exempt from any future restrictions. So many people with a range of debilitating physical and mental health conditions rely on exercise in the water to help them manage their conditions.

“Keeping them closed will inevitably lead to more people requiring treatment from overcrowded hospitals and GPs struggling to cope with an increased workload.

“This is yet another hammer blow to the operators running pools up and down the country and I hope the Government will be giving them the necessary financial support to get them through these troubling times.”

Swim England is awaiting the latest update from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and will be updating its coronavirus FAQs in due course.

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