More than 20,000 coronavirus tests will be conducted during the virus-stricken Indian Premier League, the Twenty20 tournament’s medical partner said Thursday. The richest cricket competition in the world, starting on September 19, is being held in the United Arab Emirates this year due to the pandemic, and probably without spectators. Most of the 200 players from the eight teams arrived last month and spent six days in isolation in their hotel rooms. They were tested for the coronavirus on arrival and again two days later. After a final test two days later, they moved to a safe “bio-bubble”.
The same rules apply to support staff, match referees, officials of the organizers of the Cricket Board of Cricket in India and others, who together number several hundred.
VPS Healthcare, the tournament’s official medical partner in Abu Dhabi, said on Wednesday that 3,500 tests have been conducted so far.
“Over the course of the tournament, we will run more than 20,000 tests,” a spokesperson told AFP.
“The movements of the players and other officials of the IPL are strictly limited between the hotel and the stadium,” said the spokesman.
Organizers got off to a rocky start shortly after the teams landed in the UAE last month with two players and 11 officials and staff from the Chennai Super Kings testing positive.
Two players from Chennai, including senior batsman Suresh Raina and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, have since opted out for “personal reasons”.
Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians), Jason Roy (Capital Cities of Delhi) from England also withdrew, while Australian fast Kane Richardson withdrew for the birth of his first child.
The tournament kicks off with Chennai Super Kings competing against defending champions Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.
In total, 24 matches will be held in Dubai, 20 in Abu Dhabi and 12 in Sharjah.
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