Friday, April 23, 2021

Bubble to Bubble: BCCI Releases Safety Protocols for the Upcoming IPL 2021 Season

PUNJAB NEWSLINE | March 26, 2021 12:15 PM

The Indian Premier League is finally back in India. The opening match of the season will be held in April in Chennai where last year’s champions, Mumbai Indians, will go against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The last day of the season is scheduled for May 30, 2021, in Ahmedabad.

In total, the VIVO IPL 2021 season will have 56 matches, and according to the BCCI statement released about the schedule, the league has planned the matches while considering the safety of everyone involved and the safety protocols in place due to the pandemic. And recently, the BCCI has finally shared the document that includes the protocols in place for the upcoming season.

Unfortunately, the IPL matches are going to be held behind closed doors and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly seems to have hinted that this will be the case for the whole season. This means that fans can only watch the live streams of the matches and place their bets online. For these fans, they can check Indian betting sites reviews: 10CRIC, Betway, Comeon, and many others if they want to place their bets online.

About the Bubble to Bubble Transfer

This season may be longer than the last one held in the UAE but the bubble is here to stay. The IPL was able to make a comeback last year because of the bio-secure bubble and strict protocols and so it’s not surprising that the league will still be in the bubble this season.

Players and everyone else involved in the whole season will have to be placed in a total of twelve bio-secure bubbles. The squads will have a total of eight bubbles, the match officials will have two, and the broadcasters will also have two.

Before entering the bubble, they would all have to go through a mandatory quarantine period that will last for one week. After the quarantine period, they will have to be cleared twice through COVID 19 RT-PCR swab testing.

However, players who were already part of a bubble before the IPL can be exempted from the said protocol. According to the statement:

"Players coming directly from the bubble created for the India vs England series, may be permitted to join the franchise squad without serving the mandatory quarantine period, provided they satisfy the following criteria: After the conclusion of India vs England series, the players are moved directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight”.

The BCCI statement also explained that people coming from a bubble outside the country can also be exempted from the quarantine protocols. The statement said, "If chartered flights are used then all protocols for crew members must be followed. If the travel arrangements are to the satisfaction of the BCCI Chief Medical Officer then such players will directly enter the franchise team Bubble without the need to serve a quarantine period or undergo an RT-PCR test".

However, a reminder was added regarding the bubble to bubble transfer. "Prior intimation to IPL Chief Operating Officer is mandatory if the teams are exploring the above-mentioned travel arrangements. If BCCI Chief Medical Officer is not satisfied with the strict adherence to the travel protocols by any of the players, all such players will have to quarantine for 7 days and return 3 negative RT-PCR results for tests taken on Day 2, Day 5, and the morning of Day 7 before entering their respective franchise [IPL] Bubble."

Quarantine, Isolation, and Testing

Now, when they are already inside the bubble, everyone will still have to go through frequent testing. They will all be tested twice a week during the second week. Moving forward, they will then all be tested every fifth day for the entire 2021 season.

If, in any case, a player or anyone in the bubble experiences symptoms, they shall immediately undergo a 10-day isolation period. After those 10 days, they will then have to get tested. The statement has this to say about this situation:

"During the 10-day isolation, the individual will be tested on day nine and day 10. Two consecutive negative RT-PCR test results taken 24 hours apart, full resolution of symptoms, no fresh symptoms for more than 24 hours, and no use of medications for more than 24 hours are mandatory for re-entry into the bio-secure environment. To account for any false positive tests due to historical infections, serology tests and repeat RT-PCR tests may be conducted."

Will the Players Be Vaccinated?

The BCCI didn’t fail to address the matter concerning the vaccination of the players. The board explained that this is impossible and said, "The vaccination program against COVID-19 is underway in India and vaccines are currently being administered to the at-risk population viz. front-line workers, health care professionals, people over the age of 60 years and those between the ages of 45-59 years who have comorbidities like cardiac ailments, diabetes, cancer, etc. Until most of the population is vaccinated and immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, precautions will need to be taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community."

They also added that the Indian government has not yet announced when other groups of people including athletes will get vaccinated. This may take a while and the IPL 2021 may already be over by then.

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