UK Anti-Doping will keep its COVID-19 safety measures in place despite the easing of restrictions in England ©UKAD

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) says that COVID-19 safety measures will continue to be followed during its doping control procedures.

The United Kingdom Government lifted the vast majority of legal restrictions in England on Monday (July 19),

Restrictions have eased or are due to be eased soon in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although all three are still subject to more restrictions than England.

However, UKAD is to maintain safety measures it introduced last year until further notice.

When professional sport began to restart in June 2020 after the UK’s first lockdown, UKAD announced that it would enforce two-metre social distancing and hand sanitising before, during and after all tests.

Doping control personnel (DCP) will continue to use facemasks and personal protective equipment (PPE), which are also encouraged for athletes and their representatives.

DCP must also disinfect work surfaces and materials when used, and ask athletes a series of COVID-19-related safeguarding questions.

The anti-doping process has not been immune from coronavirus-related changes and disruption ©Getty Images
The anti-doping process has not been immune from coronavirus-related changes and disruption ©Getty Images

Hamish Coffey, deputy director of operations for testing at UKAD, explained: "In light of COVID-19 restrictions easing across the UK from July 19 2021, UKAD has taken the decision to uphold the revised safety measures, introduced last year, for doping control procedures carried out in the UK until further notice.

"It is important for the safety of everyone involved in the doping control process, including athletes and Doping Control Personnel, that social distancing continues where possible and personal protective equipment is worn.

"This is to protect those involved, particularly whilst the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is still ongoing.

"The doping control processes will remain under review in the coming weeks and months, and any further changes will be communicated via governing bodies and the UKAD website."