The Covid-19 infection, which halted Indian Premier League (IPL) in May this year, seems to yet again breach the bio-bubble, with Sunrisers Hyderabad's Thangarasu Natarajan recently testing positive.
Natarajan tested positive just ahead of the team's match against Delhi Capitals in UAE. While the 30-year-old pacer along with six close contacts, including all-rounder Vijay Shankar, were isolated, the match was held as other players tested negative.
The bio-bubble is a concept introduced for the prevention of Covid-19. It is a special arrangement to limit contact with the outside world, and allows only those who are tested negative for the virus to enter the restricted area.
To maintain the bio-bubble, the players and staff are even provided separate check-in counters at airports when they travel between matches, besides best healthcare facilities for players, including the option to airlift them to safety.
Even after this, Covid infection managed to penetrate the bubble and infect the players in May. Nearly halfway through the tournament, the organisers suspended it indefinitely.
So how can the breach happen?
"Don't know how it happened. Players are under strict bio-bubble. We have told them to be more cautious now. We just hope no more cases come and disturb the proceeding (IPL). Yes, we are worried," a senior BCCI official told IANS on Natarajan testing positive.
"Covid-19 can breach a bio-bubble if the Covid-19 tests are false negative among those tested and Covid-19 preventive measures are not followed," Dr Neha Gupta, Consultant, Infectious Disease, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.
On the contrary, the recently concluded Olympics, which followed nearly the same concept of bio-bubble, did not turn out to be a super spreader event -- as feared.
"Japan's bio bubble system was very strong (during Games) and for this reason they were praised by the world. The way they got the Paralympics and Olympics done despite Covid scare and none of the players got infected was really appreciable," J.P. Singh, Coach Indian Para Powerlifting team, told IANS.
"We used to get tested (for Covid) everyday. We were not allowed to go outside the Games Village. If any new team joins, they have to go through a three days quarantine period," he added.
While there have been claims of bio-bubble affecting player's mentally, Gupta said it cannot.
"No, it should not affect the performance or affect them mentally. As such the risk of Covid 19 is much lesser in open areas as compared to closer office spaces," she noted.
Meanwhile, as the IPL resumed, the official said not to panic. He assured that they are getting all support related to Covid in the UAE.
"There is no need to press the panic button right now'. Let's hope for the best. We are getting all the support in the UAE. They, too, are keeping a close watch on everything," the official noted.