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The Indian Premier League (IPL) has made the decision to adhere to its 2022 policy of requesting players with the virus to go through a week-long isolation period before rejoining their teams, despite sporting authorities around the world allowing athletes to participate in events despite testing positive for COVID-19 over the past year.

The IPL will no longer need to operate out of a biosecure bubble, which had been mandatory for the three years since the pandemic. However, the IPL has said it wants to be careful and players testing positive will not be allowed to participate in a match or in training until they return consecutive negative tests, the earliest of which can be taken on day five of recovery.

Isolation period and testing requirements

According to the IPL's medical guidelines, distributed to franchises recently, positive cases must be isolated for a maximum of seven days. Positive cases will not be allowed to participate in any match or activity/event during the isolation period. From day five of recovery, they can undergo an RT-PCR test, provided they are asymptomatic without medication for 24 hours. Once the first result is negative, the second test must be taken 24 hours apart.

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Only after obtaining two negative RT-PCR tests 24 hours apart, i.e. on day five and day six, can they rejoin the group. Testing will be carried out only for those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and not for those who are asymptomatic. If a participant continues to test positive even after day seven, they would need to present two negative tests 12 hours apart before rejoining the group.

Contrasting COVID-19 policies in global sport

The IPL's policy contrasts with the loosening of restrictions in dealing with COVID-19 cases in global sport, including international cricket. For instance, last August, Australian allrounder Tahlia McGrath became the first cricketer to play a match despite testing positive for COVID-19 in the Commonwealth Games T20 final against India.

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In January, Australian opener Matt Renshwaw reported COVID-19 symptoms on the first morning of the New Year's Test against South Africa in Sydney, tested positive before the toss, but went on to play the match. The ICC has allowed players to participate in matches at global events, including the CWG in England and the T20 World Cup in Australia last year. However, it remains to be seen whether the same process will be retained during the ODI World Cup in India later this year.

The IPL's medical guidelines state that, despite a decline in COVID-19 cases in India, the emerging strains that are becoming a concern at regular intervals must be taken into account. Therefore, the IPL wants to be cautious in its approach and maintain its policy for the 2022 season.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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