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Development, design and experience of the UK Military’s return to diving pathway following SARS-CoV-2 infection


After the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in early 2020, it quickly became clear that symptomatic or asymptomatic infection had the potential to negatively impact on an individual’s fitness to dive through effects on the respiratory, cardiovascular or neurological systems. The significance of these effects in the military diving environment was initially unclear due to an absence of data concerning incidence, chronology or severity. In order to safely return divers to the water and maintain operational capability, the UK Military developed a pathway for SARS-CoV-2 positive divers that stratified risk of sequelae and extent of required clinical investigation, while minimising reliance on viral testing and hospital-based investigations. We present this process, provide rationale and support for its design and detail the number of SARS-CoV-2 positive divers who have been returned to full diving fitness following infection of varying degrees of severity.

  • Respiratory infections
  • COVID-19

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