COVID-19 strikes


COVID-19 strikes

1 COVID-19 positive, 2 other J'cans forced out of CPL due to possible exposure, says JCA

Senior staff reporter

Monday, August 03, 2020

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Courtney Francis, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) chief executive officer, says the sporting body is working closely alongside the Ministry of Health and Wellness after a Jamaican cricketer recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“We have not yet determined how many people might have been affected. We are adhering to the health and safety guidance set out by the Government of Jamaica. We are in dialogue with all the necessary parties, including the ministry, to ensure that everybody is aware of the developments,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The Observer has learnt that the player who tested positive was among a group of cricketers who had been training under the supervision of Jamaica Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley.

Two players who might have been exposed were withdrawn from the Jamaica Tallawahs squad set to depart today via charter flight for Trinidad and Tobago for the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) tournament.

They have been replaced by West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood and former regional youth spinner Ramaal Lewis.

The cricketer who tested positive also misses out on the competition. He had been drafted to represent one of the other five CPL franchises.

Players, coaches and members of the Jamaica Scorpions backroom staff are under quarantine, while health personnel are expected to begin testing of possible contacts today.

“Each player going to Trinidad for the CPL had to be tested, and for that player his result came back positive on Thursday. On account of that we provided evidence to the CPL, and working with the Ministry of Health, we provided what they needed for contact tracing,” Francis said, while noting that prior to testing positive the player had shown no symptom.

“Players have been put into isolation and things have been put in place to start testing of ones who might be affected, including the coach and so on. Those tests are to start Monday [today] at 7:30 am, so depending on the results we will decide on how to move forward. As it is now there will be no practice for the next 14 days,” he continued.

Up to Saturday, Jamaica had recorded a total of 883 confirmed cases of the virus with 10 deaths and 743 recoveries. The story is far grimmer worldwide with over 680,000 deaths from approximately 18 million cases.

“It's unfortunate because it could have happened to anybody. And it is very unfortunate for those two players in particular. There is no evidence, as we speak, that they are ill, but because of how the protocols are set out and for the safety of everyone things had to be done that way.

“As it is, a person would require two-straight negative tests before he or she is cleared, and even then there is the quarantine period, so they obviously would not catch that flight to Trinidad,” the JCA chief executive told the Observer.

He noted that the JCA had been facilitating practice for groups of players at a time in adherence to health guidelines.

“There has been training for smaller groups of three or four [players] per day. Our protocols were so designed that it was easy for the ministry because we have a registry that players have to sign when they come in each day. It's only three or four players per day and we got their temperature, and we also do that for the support staff. Having knowledge of it [the positive case], we stopped the training,” he reiterated.

He said video footage of training sessions was recorded.

The 2020 CPL was scheduled to be staged across venues in the region between August 19 and September 26, but changes were forced due to the spread of the virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

The rescheduled tournament is to be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago from August 18 to September 10. All matches are to be played behind closed doors at Queens Park Oval in the capital Port of Spain and Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.

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