Pant among positive COVID-19 cases in India’s camp
After Rishabh Pant, four more members of the Indian contingent in England have been forced to quarantine – in London for 10 days – following one of the members of the support staff returning a positive COVID-19 test on July 14.
Apart from the support staff member, those in quarantine are a senior member of the coaching staff, a senior player and a reserve player, who were identified as his close contacts.
The development comes as a big setback for India’s preparations for the five-Test series in England, which were already affected when Pant returned a positive test, believed to be on July 10.
In accordance with the protocols laid down by Public Health England, all those deemed to be in close contact with the person(s) affected needed to be traced and isolated for 10 days.
It is believed that the senior coach, who is travelling with his family, the senior player and the reserve player (both travelling alone), have all cleared the fresh round of tests conducted on Thursday.
The latest round of tests – on July 15 – followed those on July 10 and July 14, and while Pant is understood to have tested positive on July 10, it isn’t clear whether he was in close contact with anyone else in the squad at the time. As things stand, Pant, if he did indeed test positive on July 10, has to isolate until July 20 and then clear the mandatory test before reintegrating with the squad.
The same rule applies for the four others who are currently in quarantine.
It is understood that not all members of the Indian squad were aware of Pant testing positive. Even BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who sent an email to all members of the Indian contingent on July 13 asking them to exercise all possible COVID-19 precautions, did not mention Pant’s positive result in that note, seen by ESPNcricinfo.
In it, Shah stressed that while the Indian contingent had received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine recently, that did not “guarantee total immunity or resistance against the dreaded virus”.
Shah pointed out that the new COVID-19 variant had been “spreading rapidly”, and “we are not out of danger zone” yet.
Citing the two bilateral series that were affected recently – the England vs Pakistan series and the Sri Lanka vs India series – because of the rising numbers, Shah wrote, “It is advisable the places of mass congregation, crowded shopping malls/stores and eateries and watering holes be avoided by you in the best interest of everyone.”
On Thursday, the Indian contingent, which had dispersed the day after the World Test Championship final defeat to New Zealand, reassembled in London to travel to Durham, where it will spend the next two weeks getting ready for the first of five Tests, which starts at Trent Bridge on August 4.
The Indians are scheduled to play a three-day tour game from July 20 at Chester-le-Street against a select county team. That match, Durham said on Wednesday in an official statement, would be “strictly” behind closed doors. (ESPNCricinfo)