PCB announces COVID-19 protocols for domestic season

PCB announces financial support for unemployed women players
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By Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Sep 15 (APP): To ensure health and safety of players, officials and all other stakeholders, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) here Tuesday announced comprehensive COVID-19 protocols for the 2020-21 domestic season, which begins on Sept 30 with the National T20 Cup.

From the beginning of the season, squad members, match officials, duty doctors and security managers will be placed in bio-secure zones, where they will be able to roam around and interact with each other freely. To ensure that the bio-secure zone is virus free, they will be required to return two negative COVID-19 tests, which is in line with the practices carried out at present in international cricket.

Members of the First XI and Second XI squads are required to submit the results of their first COVID-19 tests by 16 and 18 September, respectively. The PCB will reimburse the costs of the first tests and conduct all following tests during the course of the season.

Those returning negative results will be invited to PCB designated central stations, where they will undergo second COVID-19 tests under the supervision of the PCB medical team. The second tests of the First XI and Second XI squads will be conducted on 18 September and 21 September, respectively.

While traveling to the central stations, the players and support staff personnel will not be allowed to use public transportation, except for air-travel. Upon their arrival at the central stations, they will undergo a disinfection process and will be afforded separate accommodation.

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Those who test positive in the tests conducted at the central stations will be isolated for five days and tested twice. If these players or support staff personnel continue to test positive, they would have to undergo a two-week-long period of self-isolation and return two negative results before their integration in the bio-secure zone.

The players who toured England with the men’s national team for three Tests and three T20Is will travel to Multan on 23 September and after their second negative test will join their respective domestic teams on 25 September as they have been granted a period of relaxation following their 10-week-long tour.

To provide ease and comfort to the U19 players and their parents and guardians, the PCB has taken the responsibility to conduct all COVID-19 tests of the teenage cricketers. Their first COVID-19 tests will take place on 1 October.

Similar to the COVID-19 practice for the players and player support personnel, match officials will be required to submit their results by 24 September and their second tests will be conducted on 27 September at a PCB designated central station.

The PCB realises that the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve throughout the country. It is committed to make efforts to ensure all challenges are dealt with accordingly, keeping the risk factor at an absolute minimum over the course of the season.

Bio-secure zone Hotel rooms, dinning / game / recreational rooms, playing areas, dressing rooms, match officials’ rooms and team busses and cars form bio-secure zones, which will be disinfected regularly. Each team will have its own entertainment room in which WiFi service, TV and carom board will be provided.

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That those in the bio-secure zones adhere to the protocols will be the responsibility of the COVID-19 protocols implementation team, which comprise team managers, team physiotherapists and duty doctors and liaison officers. The team is headed by COVID-19 Medical Officer, Dr Riaz Ahmed.

Venue managers, ground staff, scorers and other officials will remain in the second layer and only in case of emergency they will be allowed to interact with those in the bio-secure zone, while wearing masks and maintaining at least 15-feet distance.

During a match, team managers and match officials can interact with the venue manager via cell phones. Players would be advised to sit close to the dressing rooms during the match while social distancing will be maintained during lunch and tea intervals.

Any person breaching the bio-secure zone will spend five days in isolation and would have to test negative twice in this period to re-enter the bubble.
Media protocols for 2020-21 domestic season

Meanwhile, the PCB has also announced media protocols to ensure the health and safety of all those who will be involved in the coverage of the 2020-21 domestic cricket season during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.