All 162 people - players, officials, and administrators - who will be involved in the Caribbean Premier League have tested negative for Covid-19 upon landing in Trinidad & Tobago. An official release from the organisers said they would now be quarantined in the "official" hotel for 14 days, during which time they would be tested regularly as the tournament braces for an August 18 start.
"It has been a colossal effort by all involved to get everyone safely into Trinidad & Tobago and we would like to thank everyone for their hard work and diligence. Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of all those involved in CPL and the wider population in the host country, to have got through this first step without any cases is encouraging news, but we will remain vigilant," said the tournament operations director Michael Hall.
The release said that anyone who tests positive over the quarantine period will be placed in "further isolation" in accordance with the protocols of Trinidad & Tobago.
Five people have already had to pull out the tournament so far: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots' head coach Simon Helmot tested positive five hours before he was due to leave Melbourne for the Caribbean, whereas their assistant coach Malolan Rangarajan is tied to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who want him with the team as the IPL begins its own countdown. Patriots also lost out on the services of left-arm spinner Dennis Bulli, who tested positive for the virus, while Jamaica Tallawahs were forced to withdraw Andre McCarthy and Jeavor Royal because they came into close contact with a player who had tested positive.
The CPL will the world's first major T20 league to be held since the pandemic brought the game to a stop, and will take place in its usual window, albeit entirely in Trinidad & Tobago. On August 5, T&T had an estimated ten new cases and is among the safer locations in the world, with the highest number of new cases for a day peaking at 41 in late March.
Last week, T&T prime minister Keith Rowley had said that given the CPL's bubble, it would be safe for the rest of the population. Rowley also said that breaching of biosecurity protocols by players and staff will strictly not be tolerated. "Don't play you can come out from that protocol and decide to take a drink down the road or whatever, we're not tolerating that," he said.