Claiming that the cook who tested positive for coronavirus after dying of cardiac arrest didn’t have access to India men and women players, Hockey India has no plans to shift them out of the Sports Authority of India‘s (SAI) centre in Bengaluru. Also Read - 'This is What a Failed Lockdown Looks Like', Rahul Gandhi Ups Ante Against Govt Over COVID-19 Crisis
The centre went into complete lockdown after the cook was tested Covid-19 positive days after having visited the facility that is housing the hockey players among other Olympic-bound athletes. Also Read - Pakistan Cricketer Taufeeq Umar Recovers From COVID-19, Urges People to Take Virus Seriously
“The question of moving out the teams from Bengaluru doesn’t arise because it’s the best facility in the country,” HI CEO Elena Norman told PTI. “Even if we think of such a move, it is practically impossible because of the nationwide lockdown.” Also Read - Maharashtra Sees Highest Single-day Jump in COVID-19 Deaths, 139 People Succumb to Disease in 24 Hours
SAI on Wednesday acknowledged the cook’s on March 15 but said the deceased didn’t interact with the players or staff members.
“The person went through all necessary screenings, including thermal screening, before entering the SAI center and was found to be absolutely fit. He was wearing mask and given hand sanitizer at the gate,” SAI said in a statement.
“The meeting was attended by 16 members, including the deceased, at the auditorium (Seating capacity of 300) near the administrative block of the center. Social distancing norms, as per government guidelines, were followed during the meeting.
“The deceased left soon after the meeting and did not interact with any of the players or other staff members housed in the center,” it added.
The four officials who were present in the meeting have been quarantined.
“The others, who live outside the center, have been home quarantined. The Senior Director in charge of the center has also been directed to take all necessary precautions as per the health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to ensure that all players and staff housed inside the campus are safe,” the statement said.
An unamed top SAI official said that the cook had not gone beyond the gate area since March 10.
“A cook, part of around 60 employees, who were asked to stay at home since March 10 because of their old age, died of cardiac arrest at a hospital,” the official told PTI.
“He went to the hospital for the birth of a child of one of his relatives and had a cardiac arrest there and died. As part of the protocol, he was tested for COVID-19 and his reports came out positive. The campus is divided into three sections — Gate area, Sector-A and Sector-B. The players stay in the last part, Sector-B, so they are completely safe and are already living a quarantined life for the last 2 months,” he added.
The SAI official denied that a meeting involving the deceased and the cook took place inside the centre last Friday.
“He was staying outside the campus for the past 65 days,” he said. “Our campus went into lockdown on March 10 before the nationwide lockdown was announced. The cook last visited the campus on March 15 but he was confined to the Gate area and was not allowed in.”
“But still as a precaution, we have put 4-5 people, like guards, the remotest person who might have come in contact with him, into quarantine,” he added.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra said he’s satisfied with the arrangements at the centre and said there’s no need to panic.
“I have been in touch with Hockey India and I am fully satisfied with the way SAI Bangalore centre has been kept safe and sanitised. SAI administration is doing its best to handle the issue at hand and there is no reason to panic. We have spoken to officials and players staying in SAI Bangalore, it is clear that none of them have interacted with the person who tested COVID positive,” Batra said.