Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an ongoing Worldwide pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This virus appears to be highly infectious and at present we do not have an effective treatment for it. Most people (80%) who are infected have mild symptoms, some do not have any symptoms at all. Because this is a new virus, there is much we do not know about it. Like other viral infections however, we know that many individuals who are infected, are infectious for up to 2 days before they have symptoms. This means it is easy to spread this disease before you are aware you have it.

While the majority of those who become symptomatic can be managed at home, 15-20% who contract the virus become unwell and may require hospitalisation. A small number (5%) require intensive care, some of whom require breathing support through ventilation. These patients are more likely to be male, older (>60) and have underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease, or diabetes.

The exact mortality rate associated with COVID-19 infection is unknown, but it may be as high as 1- 2% overall and is higher in vulnerable groups. COVID-19 will likely remain a potentially deadly virus until an effective vaccine is created, but vaccination is unlikely to be available for several months to years.

Younger healthy people appear to be less likely to develop severe symptoms based on current knowledge. Anyone, however, can spread the disease infecting those they love, their friends, colleagues, and teammates.

Governments and health authorities around the world have instigated social distancing requirements, restrictions on public gatherings, quarantine measures and limited travel to and from other countries to slow the spread of the disease and to enable health care systems to cope with the potential increased demands associated with managing the disease. The rugby community has a responsibility to support these efforts.

This document aims to help rugby players, coaches, support staff, and administrators to live safely during this crisis; and when restrictions are reduced, to guide a safe return to activity in a compliant and safe manner.

Please note that this document reflects the information and research gathered when this document is circulated. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses of the public health community and governments to it, remains fluid, data and recommendations will change, this document will be updated to reflect this process.

*NOTE: for Unions, Competitions and Clubs; this document is aligned to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and recommendations, certain measures described (e.g. Distance recommended for maintaining social distance) may differ from local government guidelines. Please ensure when developing Union and Club policies by using the framework or recreating this document that all measures are compliant with local jurisdiction laws, guidelines and policies.