The pandemic put most of the activities in the world in check. The uncertainty about the advance of Covid-19 It staggered the sport, until little by little it found a way to carry on. The Dakar was no exception. A singular competition, unequaled, was left at the expense of the complications that dragged the new world reality.
Although it was handled with caution and plans were always drawn up to carry out the Dakar 2021 project, in recent weeks, as a result of the regrowth that especially shakes Europe, development in Saudi Arabia was notably hampered.
Likewise, the Middle Eastern country closed its borders a week before the start of the race, forcing Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the company that is in charge of organizing the Dakar, immediately leave to have the charter flights available for the entry of the 3,170 visas issued by the Saudi kingdom for the members of the Dakar camp.
Some stayed outside and could not arrive, as in the case of the Chaco pilot Carlos Verza, for example. Each visitor arrived with the negative PCR analysis carried out in their place of origin (about 10 days before and the other with 72 hours of validity).
Upon arrival, strict quarantine for 48 hours, new PCR analysis, of which 60 people tested positive and they were isolated in the city of Jeddah. And the rest of the camp heading to adventure, under the protocols established between the Dakar and the Arab authorities.
No one can leave the camps, so everyone absolutely they sleep in the bivac. Is prohibited contact with local inhabitants. Teams prefer to keep their members in their place. The pilots eat and rest in their tents or motorhomes.
In shared areas, the provision of sanitizing fluids abound. And each sector has divisions. A classic Dakar place is the dining room, where the Dakarian community usually met at night to take a moment of distraction, as well as dinner, to exchange information or simply relate anecdotes and experiences.
An aerial view of the bivac in Neom, Saudi Arabia, during the ninth stage on January 12, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)
On a daily basis, the nearly 3,000 people are supplied with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unlike what was usually done, now a paper bag is delivered in which the food of each meal is loaded, to take them to the corresponding tables and thus minimize any contact to serve the meals.
All this was replaced by boxes with few tables, in which they can only be occupied by no more than three people. Something similar happens in the press tent, which is now divided into three sectors and no more than two people can work at each table.
Regarding the control over Covid-19 by the organization, from the Dakar medical area 60 daily checks are carried out, determined at random and among those who present any symptoms, to control any case that may arise despite extreme measures.