Palermo July 24, 2020 – “We wrote an urgent letter to the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, asking for a derogation to the last ordinance for tennis players taking part in the 31st Palermo Ladies Open”. These are the words pronounced by Oliviero Palma, director of the tournament to be played at Palermo’s Country Time Club from the 1st to the 9th of August.

The new ordinance adopted by the Minister imposes a quarantine for all the people having been in Romania or Bulgaria in the last 14 days. “The provision would penalise a player like Simona Halep, world’s number 2 and Wimbledon’s reigning champion, who wouldn’t take part in Palermo’s tournament anymore – said Palma. Regardless of the player’s value and the attention her presence fosters over the first tournament after the suspension for the pandemic, we wrote a letter to the Minister because we’re convinced that the health protocols adopted by the WTA are so strict to guarantee the safety and health not only of athletes, yet also of all the various workers involved in the event”.

The WTA protocol mandates players to undergo a PCR test before they leave for Palermo. At their arrival, all players will undergo a new test and won’t be able to leave the hotel until the result isn’t communicated by the regional Laboratory directed by Francesco Vitale, Professor of Hygiene at the University of Palermo. Later, the PCR test will be repeated every four days.

“We availed ourselves of Prof. Antonio Cascio’s consultation (Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Palermo) to plan all controls, which will also be undergone by both the players’ and tournament’s staff – explained Palma. I’m convinced that there are all the necessary conditions and guarantees to give a derogation for all tennis players coming from Romania or Bulgaria, in order to avoid their quarantine and, hence, their retirement from the tournament of Palermo, which will be broadcasted by Rai, Supertennis and 160 more televisions from all over the world”. (nr)

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