Even though sporting authorities around the world are allowing athletes to participate in events despite testing positive for Covid-19 over the last year, the Indian Premier League has chosen to adhere to its 2022 policy of asking players with the virus to go through a week-long isolation period before rejoining their teams.
This comes as India reported over 800 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day for the first time in 126 days on March 18. The number of active cases has also risen to 5,389.
The IPL said in a statement that the rationale behind taking this decision is to remain ‘careful’ and players who test positive won’t be allowed to participate in a match or in training until they test negative. The 2023 season will not operate out of a bio-secure bubble as it has been happening for the past three years during the pandemic.
Positive cases must be isolated for a maximum of seven days, the IPL's medical rules, which were recently provided to franchises said. During the period of isolation, positive cases will not be permitted to take part in any games, activities, or events. They can have an RT-PCR test starting on day five after recovery as long as they have been symptom-free for 24 hours without taking any medicine. If the first test yields a negative result, the second test can be done after 24 hours.
"From day five, they can undergo a 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," IPL medical guidelines read.
After day seven, if a person still tests positive, they must provide two negative tests that are spaced out by 12 hours in order to rejoin the group.
The IPL’s decision to retain the same policy contrasts with the relaxation of regulations in dealing with Covid-19 instances in worldwide sports, especially international cricket. For example, Tahlia McGrath of Australia became the first cricketer to play a match while testing positive for Covid-19 in the Commonwealth Games T20 final against India in August.
Despite a drop in COVID-19 cases in India, the IPL's medical guidelines warn that new strains that are becoming a problem at regular intervals must be taken into mind. As a result, the IPL wants to proceed with caution and preserve its current policy for the 2022 season.
The 15th edition of the most popular T20 league in the world will kick off on March 31 and end on May 28. A total of 70 league matches, including 18 double headers, will be played in TATA IPL. The tournament begins five days after the inaugural Women's Premier League season concludes on March 26.
Also Read: IPL 2023 to kick off on March 31, final to be played on May 28: Here's the full schedule
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