As the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) draws near, franchises have expedited preparations and are getting its squad members tested for COVID-19 in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Ahead of the tournament, which will take place in the UAE, the Indian cricket board has issued a draft SOP which has been shared with all the franchises. The draft adequately provides guidelines related to testing protocols, social distancing, travel directives, bio-secure bubble rules, match-day guidelines and other regulations required to be strictly followed by the teams.
Not only will players and staff have to mandatorily test negative in two COVID-19 tests in order to be allowed to leave for UAE, they will be subjected to regular tests on reaching the Gulf country as well.
But, what if a player or any other person within the biosecure bubble of the IPL tests positive for the virus during the tournament?
Well, according to the draft SOP:
1) If he is not asymptomatic or has mild symptoms, he should be hospitalised.
2) If he is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms, he will be isolated in an area outside the biosecure bubble for two weeks and contract tracing will start immediately.
3) The IPL medical officer will take charge whenever a player tests positive for COVID-19
4) After two weeks, the player must return negative in two COVID-19 PCR tests that have been conducted 24 hours apart. Only after that, the person will be allowed to re-enter the bio-secure bubble and join his team. However, the person must undergo a cardiac screening before resuming training.
5) If any player tests positive for the virus during the IPL, it will not lead to a cancelled season- both for the player and the league itself.
As per the SOP, franchises are not allowed to leave for the UAE before August 20 and are advised to travel by chartered planes. All overseas players have been directed to join their team directed in the UAE.
The cash-rich league will be held between September 19 to November 10. The matches will be held in three cities — Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.