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March 3, 2021

Two foreign PSL players test positive for coronavirus


March 3, 2021

KARACHI: Two foreign players, part of the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) 2021 bio-secure bubble, have tested positive for the coronavirus, said the PCB on Tuesday.

This was revealed by the PCB’s Media Director Sami Burni during a news conference. Burni clarified that despite emergence of the new cases, the Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators clash was to be played at 7pm on Tuesday as per schedule.

He said the board had conducted 244 PCR tests after Fawad tested positive for the virus, adding that out of these, three came back positive. “These include two foreign players and one member of the local support staff.”

Burni said all three players had been isolated from the rest, adding they were being quarantined at a different floor on the hotel. The PCB media director shared that Fawad Ahmed, who tested positive for the virus a day earlier, was to undergo “a repeat test” on Tuesday.

He said that all other people who are in the bio-secure bubble will be retested for the virus on Thursday. “At the moment, more than 300 people are in the bubble,” he said. “These include players, officials, support staff, franchise owners and security officials,” he added, disclosing that rapid tests of the broadcast crew and the staff of the National Stadium had been conducted.

He said that the organising committee of the PSL has told all players to “exercise caution” at the moment. “We have not told players to go into quarantine or self-isolation,” he added.

Burni said Fawad Ahmed and the three others who tested positive for the virus will be quarantined for 10 days.

In response to a question, Burni said that it isn’t possible to ascertain where the breach in the bio-secure bubble occurred. “You know that life inside the bubble is quite difficult,” he said.

“So is its management and as you said, it happens in sports events across the world be it the Formula 1 or the NFL,” he added.

The PCB official said that there was no way to ascertain the causes of the bubble getting breached, adding it was the collective responsibility of everyone, most importantly of the PCB, to ensure that the prestige of the tournament was not affected in the least.

He said that the cricket board was taking every step to ensure compliance of coronavirus SOPs. “You know that when the ball is thrown into the stands and the fans grab it, the umpire wipes the germs from it [before handing it back to the players],” he said. “They have wipes and everything.

He reiterated that these challenges were being faced by different sports organisers across the globe.

In response to another question, Burni said that till March 16, cricket stadiums will host PSL matches for crowds up to 50% of the capacity, in line with the NCOC’s directives.

Burni said that the PCB is reminding the crowds to ensure compliance of the coronavirus SOPs, adding that it is an “ongoing process where there is a lot of room for improvement”.