More than 20 000 coronavirus tests planned during IPL

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Harbhajan Singh celebrates with his Chennai Super Kings team-mates during the 2019 IPL.
Harbhajan Singh celebrates with his Chennai Super Kings team-mates during the 2019 IPL.
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

More than 20 000 coronavirus tests will be carried out during the virus-hit Indian Premier League, the Twenty20 tournament's medical partner said Thursday.

The world's richest cricket league, starting on September 19, is being held in United Arab Emirates this year because of the pandemic, and likely with no spectators.

Most of the 200 players from the eight teams arrived last month and spent six days in isolation in their hotel rooms.

They were tested for the coronavirus on their arrival and then again two days later. After a final test two days after that they moved into a secure "bio-bubble".

The same rules apply for support staff, match umpires, officials from organisers the Board of Control for Cricket in India and others, who together number several hundred.

VPS healthcare, the tournament's Abu Dhabi-based official medical partner, said Wednesday that 3 500 tests have been done so far.

"During the course of the tournament, we will be conducting over 20 000 tests," a spokesman told AFP.

"The movement of the players and other officials of the IPL are strictly restricted between the hotel and the stadium," the spokesman said.

The organisers got off to a rocky start soon after the teams landed in the UAE last month with two players and 11 officials and staff from the Chennai Super Kings testing positive.

Two Chennai players including senior batsman Suresh Raina and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh have opted out since due to "personal reasons".

Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians), Jason Roy (Delhi Capitals) of England also pulled out while Australian quick Kane Richardson withdrew for the birth of his first child.

The tournament kicks off with Chennai Super Kings taking on defending champions Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.

In all, 24 matches will be held in Dubai, 20 in Abu Dhabi and 12 in Sharjah.

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