CHENNAI: Patiala is not the only centre affected. Though mild, covid cases have surfaced in National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru too. There are multiple cases, around 23 in Bengaluru, including national campers both junior and senior in athletics. There are at least six elite athletes who returned Covid positive during routine testing while two hockey players also joined the list. Cases in Bengaluru are rising exponentially.
The middle and long distance and horizontal jump athletes, the two hockey teams -- men and women -- are training at the centre, which is near Bangalore University. Since there are no immediate national or international events, athletics camp is not overtly worried.
However, according to Sports Authority of India officials, everything is under control as of now. Immediate action was taken with close contacts isolated, indoor facilities shut for sanitisation and all other precautions taken as per local administration and SAI Standard Operating Procedure. Training has been suspended especially for all those who were in close contact of infected athletes. Athletics track and gym are shut at least until Monday. There is restriction of movement and no one from outside is allowed inside the campus. Those not infected are training in micro-bio-bubble. Athlete have been divided into small groups and are training and dining separately. And those isolated as contacts are training inside their rooms. The centre had taken stringent measures to avoid an outbreak. The nature of the virus that spread quickly has compounded matters but officials are hopeful of containing it.
Interestingly, athletes are all vaccinated in SAI centres. It is learnt that for those with symptoms it is mild while some don't have any indications. Some of the athletes were training in the morning and had no sign of infection when test results came in in the evening. Local health officials visited the premises and were satisfied with measures SAI put in place. All of the infected athletes are being treated in isolation facilities.
According to new SOP, there will be random testing of athletes, coaches and support staff.
The new SOP was released on January 3 and as a precaution all athletes training in different NCOEs and centres were tested. On Wednesday, four players and a coach tested positive in Patiala where around 170 samples were taken on Monday. With six old cases the number has risen to 10 plus and according to Punjab government rules, the facility has been declared a containment zone. Officials in Patiala said that positive cases in the campus was limited to the five cases.