Just days ahead of the new PSL season, beginning January 27, three players and five support staff have returned positive for Covid-19 after the latest round of tests, and have gone into isolation, the tournament director Salman Naseer has confirmed. The players will be allowed to join their teams for training sessions from January 24, at the end of their isolation periods, if they produce two negative test results.
Members of the six franchises have started checking in at their hotels, after having returned negative results in the pre-arrival tests, of which over 250 have been conducted since Thursday.
As a precautionary measure, the PCB had started pre-emptive testing of the hotel staff and PCB officials from January 14 - the hotel staff who had tested positive were released and they remain in home isolation for the moment.
"PCB remains committed to creating a safe and secure environment for all participants so that they can play and perform to the best of their abilities," Naseer said in a statement. "In the environment that we presently live in, there will be positive cases, but we have robust health and safety plans to ensure the event is played and concluded in the 27 January to 27 February window."
According to the PSL 2022 blueprint, there will be as many as 17 rounds of tests during the competition. There is a mandatory three-day quarantine, followed by four days of training before the tournament starts in Karachi. The first three days of quarantine will have regular testing before everyone with two negative RT-PCR results is allowed to enter the bubble. Every individual will then have an RT-PCR test every second day.
The PCB has taken extra precautions, which includes provisions to avoid a postponement even if a few players contract Covid-19, with the franchises allowed 20 players on their rosters, with an additional pool of reserve players to provide cover in case of an emergency.
The board has also chalked out detailed health and safety protocols at venues and has a step-by-step guide for every stage of the tournament.