The Patiala Health Department on Saturday banned the entry of outsiders inside the National Institute of Sports (NIS) due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across the country. India’s elite athletes including the Olympic-bound ones train at Patiala and their functional area is already in the “Green Zone” and out of bounds for anyone residing outside the campus.
“Yes, outsider entry has been banned. We have been informed about it,” a source privy to the development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Earlier on Friday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced a three-week “summer vacation” at its National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) owing to the relentless spike in COVID-19 cases but said that the Olympic-bound will continue to train at their ongoing camps
India has been reporting over 1 lakh cases for the past few days.
“In view of the rising cases of COVID-19 across India and keeping the health and safety of athletes in mind, the Sports Authority of India has taken the decision to allow summer vacations across all National Centres of Excellence (NCOEs) for a period of three weeks,” SAI had stated.
The move, however, will not impact the Olympic-bound athletes.
“…elite athletes who are part of the National Camps and are training for Olympics and other international competitions at the NCOEs will continue to stay and train in their respective campuses.
“Their sparring partners will also be allowed to train with them. Athletes who have to attend classes or have to appear in examinations will be allowed to stay in the campus and will be provided all facilities.
“All athletes and staff who stay back will undergo weekly RT PCR test.”
The decision came after testing at its centres in Patiala, Bengaluru and Sonipat threw up significant number of positive cases among athletes and support staff.
However, none of the affected athletes were Tokyo-bound.
SAI said it will arrange for the safe return of all NCOE athletes who are heading home.
“Athletes will be provided air tickets from the NCOE to the nearest airport of their hometown and those living within a 500-km radius will be given AC 3 Tier train tickets,” it stated.
As stated in the latest SAI SOP, the nodal sports body will conduct weekly RT-PCR tests for athletes, coaches and support staff who stay back on campus to ensure close monitoring of the COVID situation.
SAI conducted mass precautionary RT-PCR tests at NCOEs in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Sonepat and Lucknow. Out of 1477 tests that were conducted in these centres, only 17 people tested positive which is 1.15 per cent of the total tests done.
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