After recent news of further positive COVID-19 cases among IPL camps ahead of the 2021 tournament, there have been suggestions that this year’s competition may need to be postponed.
On Tuesday, Kiran More, the former India wicketkeeper who is part of the Mumbai Indians coaching set-up, tested positive having reportedly spent time in the franchise’s bio-secure bubble. On Wednesday Australia left-arm seamer Daniel Sams tested positive two days out from the start of the tournament. He became the second Royal Challengers Bangalore player – after Devdutt Padikkal – to return a positive COVID-19 test in recent days. Padikkal has since tested negative for the virus but the spate of recent positive tests has caused concern over the competition’s viability.
The current COVID-19 situation in India is arguably the worst it’s been at any point in the pandemic. On Tuesday, India recorded 115,269 cases – the most the country has ever recorded in a single day. This was also the highest single-day total anywhere in the world. Daily recorded deaths are rocketing up, too. On April 6, there were 631 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths; a month previously, on March 6, there were 98.
The Guardian is reporting that a total lockdown in Mumbai could be imminent. Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium is set to host 10 of the 60 games.
While the players and support staff are set to be part of bio-secure bubbles to ensure the tournament goes ahead, it isn’t a given that such precautions totally prevent the spread of the virus. In the 2020 English summer, while England’s bio-secure bubbles for their home series against West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia yielded a grand total of zero positive cases, it is worth bearing in mind how few cases there were in the country at the time. In July and August, the seven-day average for reported cases never exceeded 2,000.
England’s tour of South Africa later in the year was derailed after a player and members of hotel staff tested positive. COVID-19 was much more prevalent in South Africa at the time compared to England during the 2020 summer. Similarly, the Pakistan Super League was suspended earlier this year as cases in the country were rising.
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