As the Maharashtra government considers locking down the state to arrest the spread of coronavirus, news has emerged of staff at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium testing positive for COVID-19.
The 14th edition of the lucrative Indian Premier League will start on April 9, with Wankhede hosting a high-profile match between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals the next day.
The tournament is being held in India after two years, and with cases rising in Maharashtra, IPL franchises are keeping their fingers crossed. An official from one of the franchises told ANI news agency that organisers must ensure stricter protocols to protect players and the public.
“You do get a little concerned when you hear such things [ground staff testing positive] days before the start of the tournament. We have all been following protocols to the core, but obviously, when such a news comes in, it makes us a little wary. We are looking at keeping things as tight as possible. Have to be on our guard,” the official said.
Another franchise official called the news a “wake-up call”. “This could actually serve as a wake-up call before the start of the tournament. Sometimes we tend to get a little comfortable after entering the bubble. But this will ensure we follow every protocol,” the official said.
Wankhede will host 10 IPL games this season. Four franchises – Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals – have set up their base in Mumbai.
Maharashtra reported 47,827 new COVID-19 cases and 202 deaths on Friday with Mumbai registering the highest-ever single day spike of 8,832 new cases. It was the second day in a row that Mumbai recorded more than 8,500 cases.