SLC awaits task force word for Bangladesh Cricket Team quarantine

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is awaiting a response from the Task Force of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of Covid19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) on reducing the number of compulsory quarantine days for the Bangladesh cricket team.

The Bangladesh team is scheduled to arrive in Colombo in late October, The Sunday Morning learnt.

It is learnt that the SLC has consulted the NOCPCO as per the instructions given by Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa to reconsider the compulsory 14-day quarantine period as the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has expressed their disagreement over local Covid-19 protocols on Bangladesh’s World Test Championship series in Sri Lanka. SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said the Board would receive a response within the next few days.

“The health guidelines are not shared with us and the centre is also having discussions at present and they will revert to us within the next couple of days,” he told The Sunday Morning. The SLC CEO further noted that the BCB had not shared with the SLC their concerns over the Covid-19 protocols in Sri Lanka. “We also know what has been reported in the media,” de Silva added.

As it was reported, BCB President Nazmul Hassan had said it won’t be possible for their players to be confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days.

Hassan further said that they had been working on a schedule with a seven-day quarantine period in mind. But a 14-day period would mean the Bangladesh Test squad, all of whom haven’t played a competitive match in six months, will get just one week to prepare for the first Test scheduled for 23 October.

He had also said that both boards were having discussions along the lines of a seven-day quarantine period, but the SLC’s terms and conditions were nowhere near those discussions and neither were they anything close to what other countries which are hosting cricket in the pandemic were doing.

When contacted by The Sunday Morning, Acting Director General of Health Services Dr. S. Sridaran said it was compulsory for all foreigners who come to Sri Lanka to go on a 14-day quarantine period.

In the meantime, health education and publicity consultant community physician Dr. Palitha Karunapema also told The Sunday Morning that a 14-day quarantine period was compulsory for all foreigners coming to Sri Lanka. According to him, the Health Ministry has already communicated the guidelines mentioning the requirement of adhering to the 14-day quarantine. When asked whether there was any relaxation of the guideline for the team, the Director said: “As far as I know, there is no such relaxation communicated.”