The FEI has imposed a further two-week extension of the shutdown of all international events in mainland Europe until 11 April 2021 due to the ongoing outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).
The move, which aims to minimise the further spread of the very aggressive strain of the virus, was unanimously approved at an emergency FEI Executive Board meeting today. The extended lockdown applies to all FEI disciplines.
The decision is based on detailed scientific risk assessment conducted by world leading epidemiologist Dr Richard Newton and the FEI Veterinary Department.
The extended lockdown applies to all countries that have international scheduled events in the period to 11 April – Austria, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. However, the FEI again strongly recommends that all National Federations in mainland Europe cancel their national events in order to minimise horse movement.
The additional lockdown period is crucial to slow down the spread of the virus so that the rest of the season can be preserved, our athletes and horses can get back to competing safely and to allow as long a period as possible for those aiming for Tokyo to earn their Minimum Eligibility Requirements and confirmation results, and to prepare horses for the Games.
Sadly, the shutdown will mean the cancellation of the FEI World Cup™ Finals for the second consecutive year following the loss of the 2020 Finals in Las Vegas (USA) to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final were scheduled to be held in Gothenburg (SWE) from 31 March to 4 April 2021.
Work on identifying the gene sequencing of this strain of the virus is already underway, and the FEI is continuing to monitor the evolution of the virus through the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group, which was formalised this week. The Group is composed of world-leading EHV specialists, the FEI Veterinary Director and FEI Senior Veterinary Advisor, and supported by the Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. Reports and recommendations from this Group will be published on a weekly basis.
We need to work together to contain this virus so that competition can resume as soon as possible, so we ask that you monitor extremely carefully and keep the FEI Veterinary Department updated on the situation in your country, particularly reporting any suspected and confirmed cases.