According to the standard operating procedures (SOP) released by the Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Saturday, players part of the series will not have to serve mandatory seven-day quarantine if they move into the franchise bubble directly from the bubble of the Indian team.
“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 chief medical officer (CMO) must be satisfied with the arrangements,” read the SOP, accessed by TOI.
The series against England ends on March 28. TOI understands that a majority of players who have been in a tough bubble since last August may opt for a break and go back to their homes before the 50-day tournament gets underway. With the IPL starting on April 9, the players will have to get inside the bubble latest by April 2. IPL franchises can start pre-season camps with seven-day hard quarantine.
However, the BCCI is still awaiting the government to make the vaccines available for elite athletes.
Golf and swimming pools allowed
Keeping in mind the need for outdoor recreation, the SOP allows access to golf courses with certain Covid protocols in place. Any outdoor activity will have to be cleared by the BCCI CMO a day before the activity. Swimming pools at hotels have been deemed safe. It is preferable to have the pools only to the members in the bubble. But if the pools are used by other guests in the hotel, the hotel staff will need to sanitise and disinfect the pool before the franchise uses it.
Antibody tests to detect false negative
The SOP also includes a provision for antibody tests if anyone in the bubble tests positive for Covid-19. “To account for any false positive RT-PCR test results, viz. Anyone with a high CT-value and a history of COVID-19 infection in the previous 90 days, serology tests will be conducted for the presence of IgG antibodies. If the serology test shows high IgG antibody levels indicating a recent infection, a repeat RT-PCR test will be conducted and if the result of the same is negative, the participant will be allowed to re-enter the bio-secure Bubble immediately,” the document stated.