CHENNAI: In its bid to avoid recurrence of SAI Centre Bengaluru-like incident, wherein six players from men’s hockey team tested positive for coronavirus after returning to the camp, NIS Patiala has started taking additional precautions. While the protocols have been in place since the beginning as the centre has been home to athletes since March, the fresh initiatives focus more on athletes going on leave due to emergency.
“We have been following SAI’s SOP and guidelines from ministry and local administration since the start but we need to keep revising things frequently given the dynamic situation we are facing. We need to be more careful for the athletes leaving the centre as they are most vulnerable,” sources in the know of things told this daily.
The athletes, who leave the centre, are not only briefed about dos and don’ts but also given personal protection kit including sanitiser, face mask and hand gloves so that they don’t have buy them on the way. If they are young, their family members are spoken to and apprised of the precautionary measures they have to follow while being with the athletes. Only two persons are allowed to travel in the vehicle.
It is learnt that the same procedure was followed when weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga left for his hometown Aizawl. “You cannot monitor athletes’ movement once they are out so it’s good to speak to their relatives and brief them about the protocols,” added the sources.
Most of the athletes are camping at the centre since the lockdown and they are longing for a break as they have been away from their families for months now. “Our sports psychologist holds sessions with athletes in batches every fortnight to keep them motivated. They had two sessions so far and the third one will be held soon.
This way we help them stay positive.” Once athletes are back from their homes, they are subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. “Usually, the athletes go into self-isolation soon after reaching the centre. We inform their arrival to local authorities and conduct Covid-19 tests.” Two weightlifters, Odisha’s Jhilli Dalabehera and P Anuradha of Tamil Nadu, who reached the centre on August 5, have returned negative on Tuesday but will serve full quarantine period before rejoining the camp. The centre has already been divided into zones — green, orange and red — to check movement within the premises.