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Covid scorecard developed for diver safety


Covid scorecard developed for diver safety

Quarry 1

A scorecard designed to help scuba divers exposed to or infected by the Covid-19 virus calculate whether it is safe for them to resume diving has been produced by the UK Diving Medical Committee.

Divers who have experienced lung or heart changes resulting from the virus could risk barotrauma or other respiratory difficulties by diving, as reported on Divernet in April and May. They also need to take coronavirus into account when completing the latest diver medical self-assessment forms.

The UKDMC, a network of 56 medical referees with accredited diving medicine expertise, advises the British Sub-Aqua Club, Sub-Aqua Association and Scottish Sub-Aqua Club on diving-medicine issues.

Its scorecard allocates points for each of eight elements of a diver’s medical history in 2020, with the score cross-checked with a table to determine the current advice. 

Negative indicators include new persistent cough, fever, increased shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, known unprotected contact with a proven or suspected Covid-19 sufferer, a positive antibody test or throat swab, and symptoms severe enough to require hospital admission. 

For any score between 1 and 7, it is suggested that taking a government-approved Covid-19 antibody test (currently those produced by Abbott and by Roche) should be considered, because a negative test might give the all-clear.

29 June 2020

Otherwise the diver is recommended to consult a medical referee no sooner than three months after the most recent illness, and once back to normal exercise capacity. The list of referees can be found here.

Higher scores require testing to be carried out before a return to diving can be considered. For those with scores high enough to reflect an almost 100% chance of lung changes, divers are normally advised to wait at least a year after being discharged from hospital and feeling fully recovered and back to normal exercise capacity before discussing a return to diving.

They might, however, be able to resume diving earlier if tests can prove that the lungs and heart have not been affected.

Find the scorecard here.

* SCOTTISH DIVERS have welcomed the announcement of a relaxation in the five-mile distance restriction on recreational travel from 3 July. “This has probably been the biggest obstacle to a return to diving in Scotland,” says governing body ScotSAC. “This makes travelling to dive-sites much more viable.” 

From 10 July, people in Scotland can meet in extended groups outdoors, though the 2m physical distancing guidance remains unchanged. The five-mile travel restriction currently remains in force in Wales.


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