Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
WHILE the Government has allowed social jogging in the Level 2 national lockdown, joggers are faced with a dilemma after two Chinese boys died while jogging wearing masks.
Another Chinese jogger’s lungs collapsed in what reports indicated was due to inadequate oxygen.
Wearing of face masks and social distancing have become the new normal and those that enjoy outdoor workouts have to adjust accordingly without putting other people’s and their own health in jeopardy.
According to a report by the New York Post, two Chinese boys aged 14 years dropped dead within a week of each other while wearing face masks during a gym class.
“One of the teens was only minutes into his gym class when he fell backward on April 24 at Dancheng Caiyuan Middle School in Henan province. The death certificate listed the cause as sudden cardiac arrest, but no autopsy was performed,” wrote the publication.
Six days later another learner at Changsha’s Xiangjun Future Experimental School in Hunan province also collapsed and died.
“He had been wearing an N95 respirator and running a 1 000m exam when the fatal incident occurred. It’s unclear whether an autopsy had been ordered,” wrote the publication.
It reported that although it wasn’t concluded that masks played a role in the deaths, several schools in Tianjin and Shanghai have cancelled physical education exams.
British publications The Sun reported that a Chinese jogger suffered a burst lung after running for miles wearing a face mask and was rushed to hospital following the incident.
“Doctors are now urging people not to wear face masks while running as covering your mouth and nose can make it harder to breath,” wrote The Sun.
Renowned local sports medical doctor Nick Munyonga said it wasn’t advisable for kids to jog while wearing masks, as they may not know when to remove them when facing breathing difficulties.
“Adults too must be careful and quickly remove the mask once they experience difficulties in breathing,” said Munyonga.
In Statutory Instrument 110 of 2020, the government allowed some low risk sportspersons to participate in training, but stressed the importance of following laid down health guidelines, which include social distancing.
“Cabinet has approved the amendment of the Statutory Instrument of low risk sporting activities. More details of actual sports covered will be supplied by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation in due course. It must be stressed that the lifting of the lockdown on low risk sporting activities will be limited to training and as such not open to competitions or spectators,” said Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutswangwa in a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.