No Let-up In COVID-19 Curbs, 7-Day Isolation Must For Positive Cases
RCB’s Virat Kohli arrives for IPL practice in mask. (Twitter/@ImTanujSingh)
According to the IPL authorities, players testing COVID-positive can take part only after furnishing consecutive negative test results
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has decided to exercise abundant caution in its COVID-19 policy and made it mandatory for players testing positive for the coronavirus to undergo week-long isolation before rejoining their respective franchises. In this regard, the IPL has continued to stick to its 2022 policy. Also, players who test positive can take part in a match or training only after furnishing consecutive negative test results. The earliest that a player can undergo such a test is on the fifth day of recovery.
“While there has been a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in India we still have to be careful of the emerging strains which are becoming a concern at regular intervals,” the IPL’s medical guidelines said, according to an ESPNCricinfo report. “Positive cases must be isolated for maximum seven days. Positive cases will not be allowed to participate in any match or any form of activity/event during the period of isolation.
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“From day five, they can undergo an RT-PCR, provided they must be asymptomatic without any medication for 24 hours. Once the first result is negative the 2nd test must be done 24 hours apart. Only after obtaining two negative RT-PCR tests 24 hours apart i.e. day five and day six, can they rejoin the group,” the medical guidelines added. The guidelines were distributed to the IPL franchises last week.
Crucially, COVID testing will be conducted only for those who show signs of having the disease, not those who are asymptomatic. Those who continue to return positive test results even after the seventh day will not be permitted to join their franchises without presenting two negative test results obtained 12 hours apart.
This year, the IPL will be played across India in an old home-away format for the first time since 2019. Also, there will be no bio-secure bubble out of which the teams would have to operate. The 2020 edition was held entirely in the UAE. The IPL returned to India under tight COVID restrictions in 2021, but the second wave of the pandemic which led to several players and members of the support staff testing positive forced the tournament to relocate to the UAE again. The 2022 edition was held only in a few cities like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata in bio-secure environments.
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The IPL’s stance regarding COVID is more stringent than that of several other sporting authorities, who have allowed players to take part in events in spite of being COVID-positive. In August last year, Australia Women’s Tahila McGrath played against India in the Commonwealth Games T20 final in Birmingham last year in spite of being COVID-positive. She was the first player to do so.
Then in the World T20 last year, Matthew Wade of the Australian men’s team, who tested COVID-positive, was named in the squad for a group game against England in Melbourne. Fellow Australian Matt Renshaw went on to play against South Africa in Sydney in January this year despite testing COVID-positive before the toss.
On Sunday (March 19), India reported a rise of 526 in active COVID cases, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Considering the abysmal situation that the country had to go through, especially during the first two waves of the pandemic, the IPL authorities are completely justified in being extra careful. It now would be interesting to see if similar restrictions are followed also for the ICC World Cup that is to be held in India later this year.
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