A day after national camper Siki Reddy and physiotherapist Kiran C tested positive for COVID-19, 11 other members at the camp took a second test, results of which are expected on Sunday.
While the Sports Authority of India (SAI) insisted that they had put in place strict social-distancing guidelines for the players, coaches and trainers at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, questions remain about the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for shuttlers once they leave the camp.
Among the elite shutters; locals PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and Reddy, along with chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, aren’t based at the academy.
According to a SAI official, there are no “SOPs for players while they are at home or they are traveling”. A camper too confirmed. “It’s impossible to control every action inside homes so there’s no SOP for homes. But the logic is that we are being extremely careful in taking care of our own health and safety, and it’s plain unlucky the two tested positive because they had taken utmost precautions”.
Questions are also being asked about the players being tested after the camp had resumed. Giving an explanation, a SAI official said, “It was a risk (to start the camp before tests) but the only thing was they were all locals and hadn’t flown in from anywhere. When they joined the camp, they had no symptoms and were physically fit. Even though they were locals, we conducted tests because it was a SAI protocol.”
Elaborating further and blaming the state for the timing of the tests, the official added, “Test is upon arrival but we have to depend on the state government to do the test. It was intimated to the state government, but they did not have the wherewithal and were able to give us time for the test on the 11th. It was the earliest date the government gave us.”