Two members in the Kolkata Knight Riders camp have tested positive for Covid-19 and the team’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be held in Ahmedabad on Monday has been rescheduled, the Indian Premier League announced.
“Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for Covid-19,” the IPL said in a statement.
This is the first reported case of a positive test inside the teams’ bio-secure environments. While there have been positive cases in relation to the IPL earlier, those were before players entered the bio-secure bubbles and were able to isolate themselves during the quarantine period.
The entire KKR team has gone for a six-day hard quarantine, starting Sunday, reported PTI. Speaking on Star Sports, franchise chief executive Venky Mysore said that Warrier is doing fine, while Varun is still under the weather and “better than yesterday”.
Later on Monday, ESPNCricinfo reported that three members of the Chennai Super Kings non-playing staff have tested positive for Covid-19.
The results are from the latest round of testing on Sunday and do not include any players that are currently in New Delhi. However, a top BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI that the CSK reports were a case of “false positives”.
CSK and KKR had met on April 21 at the Wankhede Stadium during the Mumbai leg before moving to their current destinations.
“All CSK players who have been in touch with [Varun] Chakravarthy have been tested as per contact tracing protocols. We are awaiting reports,” CSK CEO Kashi Viswanathan told PTI.
Additionally, PTI reported that some groundsmen at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, which is due to host Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, have also tested positive for the virus. However, Delhi and Districts Cricket Association chief Rohan Jaitley is reported to have said “none of the groundsmen on duty” are among them.
KKR Covid-19 scare
According to ESPNCricinfo, Varun, one of the members who has tested positive, had gone to a hospital recently for a shoulder scan. The leg-spinner and pacer Warrier, both 30, have been isolated. Of the two, Warrier has not yet made the playing XI in any of the seven matches KKR have played while Varun has been an integral part of the side.
“Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The Medical Team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest,” the statement by the league added.
“The Medical Team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.”
Earlier, a report by The Age, an Australian publication, had stated that the Kolkata Knight Riders team was isolating after players fell ill. The development was then confirmed by the league.
According to cricket.com.au, representatives for two Australian players have indicated that they plan to stay in the IPL bubble until the tournament ends on May 31, despite Monday’s positive tests.
KKR last played on April 29 against Delhi Capitals at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
“Now, the DC players will also have to be tested and every member of the team contingents that came in contact with Chakravarthy and Warrier will also be contact traced through the app watch that has been given to everyone,” a BCCI official told PTI.
Later in the day, another report on ESPNCricinfo said that DC contingent has been asked to isolate at their hotel in Ahmedabad. In Delhi, Mumbai Indians nor the Sunrisers Hyderabad — the teams scheduled to face each other on Tuesday — did not train after suspected positive cases among the ground staff at the stadium.
According to IPL’s Standard Operating Procedure for Covid-19 management, any close contact of an infected person has to isolate for six days and return three negative tests on days one, three and six, PTI reported.
India is in the midst of an unprecedented second wave of Covid-19 and the health-care infrastructure across the country struggling to cope with the case load amid shortage of oxygen supply and essential medicines.
On Monday, India registered a slight drop in coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day, logging 3,68,147 new infections. With this, the overall cases count climbed to 19,925,604 in the country since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The toll rose by 3,417 to 2,18,959.
The IPL is being played inside a bio-secure bubble and with teams playing at only two venues at a given time. The two cities currently in operation are Delhi and Ahmedabad, both hit by the pandemic, and there have been questions over the tournament continuing especially in the national capital. A few players and officials have withdrawn from the event.
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(With PTI inputs)