Television and webstream coverage will return at the 2021 World Women’s Curling Championship as China takes on host Canada at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on Friday.
All TV coverage was postponed on May 2 when two members of the event broadcast team returned positive tests for COVID-19. Further tests revealed seven affected persons in total.
After days of negative test results on all other personnel, a “return to broadcast” proposal was approved by Alberta Health.
An initial plan to return for the Friday afternoon draw has been moved forward to include the morning draw, which will see Canada battle China.
Broadcast staff that are confirmed to return to the venue—WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary—will be required undergo COVID-19 lateral flow rapid testing, followed by a COVID-19 PCR test each day for the remainder of the championship. In the situation where the rapid testing returns a positive result, the staff member will not be allowed to enter the venue until the follow up PCR test confirms a negative result.
The two Friday afternoon draws expected to be broadcast will see Germany challenge Switzerland Japan take Estonia. Then in the evening, in the rescheduled session seven games, the Scotland-China and Sweden-Japan games will be broadcast.
Japan is a major consumer of televised curling. Rights holder NHK carries all Japanese men’s and women’s games at the world championships.
The impacted broadcast staff who initially tested positive will remain in isolation in the broadcast hotel and will be medically managed by the competition medical officials under guidance by Alberta Health.
The German athletes who tested positive shortly after arriving for the championship continue to quarantine at a separate hotel and are also being medically managed by officials.
Throughout the broadcast “blackout” fans have been forced to follow live action by either refreshing online scoring systems—leading to remarkable sub-broadcasts in some countries—or following the busy social media feeds of the World Curling Federation and Curling Canada.
As a result, key moments not captured by TV cameras—including a surprising eight-ender scored by Switzerland on May 2—have helped fans stay informed throughout the week.