With the T20 extravaganza taking place in the midst of a global pandemic, reports have indicated that the BCCI is all set to spend close to Rs 10 crore on conducting Covid-19 tests throughout the course of the IPL. A senior official has revealed that around 20,000 RT-PCR tests will be conducted.
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and the gruelling effect of the virus has been such that it has, virtually, redefined the term ‘normal’. Aside from masks and social distancing norms being mandatory, organisations are now expected to ‘screen’ employees for Covid-19 on a regular basis and for the world of sport, in particular, there are no two ways around it.
As a result of the same, prioritizing the safety of the players and staff and to be double sure, the BCCI put in place strict Covid-19 testing norms heading into the IPL and revealed that each player would have to pass at least five tests before being deemed eligible to train inside secure bio-bubbles.
But the true extent of BCCI’s measures have now been revealed and it is believed that the board is expected to spend a whopping Rs 10 crore on Covid-19 Tests alone. According to an IPL official, a total of 20,000 RT-PCR tests will be conducted throughout the course of the season and VPS Healthcare, a UAE-based company, has been roped in for the same.
“We have engaged VPS Healthcare, a UAE based company to conduct the tests. While I can’t put a number, it will be more than 20,000 tests, which would include everyone. Each test would cost BCCI around 200 AED (Dirham) excluding taxes,” a senior IPL official said was quoted as saying by Outlook.
“So BCCI will be spending something in the tune of Rs 10 crore for the COVID tests. Around 75 healthcare workers who are part of the company are a part of the IPL testing process,” the official added.
The duration of the tournament - which is almost two months long - means that testing, in itself, becomes a tedious process and the official revealed that to ensure no lapses, a separate bio-bubble has been created for the healthcare workers responsible for taking the tests of players, staff and members.
“We couldn’t have taken the risk. A separate bio-bubble has been created by the company in a hotel. Around 50 of its health care staff are attached to the testing process while another 25 are engaged in lab and documentation work. A total of 1988 COVID tests were carried out between August 20–28 across all those involved with the tournament, including players and support staff,” the official revealed.
All eight franchises landed in Dubai post August 20 and while seven teams encountered no hurdles whatsoever, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were dealt a massive blow as no lesson than 13 personnel from the club tested positive for the virus. All affected individuals were isolated post the positive test, but, thankfully for the club, a recent Covid-19 test involved that all other members barring the 13 were clear of the virus.