India head coach Ravi Shastri has tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in his isolation along with three other support staff members who were deemed his close contacts, the BCCI revealed on Sunday but asserted that there is no threat to the ongoing fourth Test against England here.
The 59-year-old Shastri returned positive in a lateral flow test (Rapid Antigen Test) and will stay in isolation till his and others’ RT-PCR test reports come clear.
The support staff members who have been isolated are bowling coach Bharath Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Patel.
The playing members have, however, tested negative in two lateral flow tests conducted on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. All the players and the support staff are fully vaccinated.
“The BCCI Medical Team has isolated Mr Ravi Shastri, Head Coach, Mr B. Arun, Bowling Coach, Mr R. Sridhar, Fielding Coach and Mr Nitin Patel, Physiotherapist as a precautionary measure after Mr Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive last evening,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah stated in a release.
“The remaining members of the Team India contingent underwent two Lateral Flow Tests, one last night and another this morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval,” he added.
It is understood that Shastri may have got the symptoms after attending the launch of his book in the team hotel where outside guests were also allowed. Arun, Patl and Sridhar attended that function in person.
“Since there are no restrictions in the UK, outside guests were allowed during Shastri’s book launch party,” a BCCI source said.
“You feel for Bharath Arun. This is the second time, that he has to be isolated because someone else has tested positive. Last time it was Dayanand Garani, the masseur,” he added.
The team is set to travel to Manchester on Tuesday and if these four are found positive in RT-PCR tests, they will have to undergo 10-day room isolation and test negative twice thereafter to rejoin the contingent.
“They have undergone RT-PCR testing and shall remain in the team hotel and not travel with Team India until confirmation from the medical team,” Shah said.
The lateral flow tests, the results of which can be known within 30 minutes, are not considered particularly reliable and RT-PCR tests are conducted to confirm the results.
All members of the competing teams have been given RAT self test kits to check themselves immediately in case of any symptoms.
The Indian contingent has been carrying out lateral flow tests every single day since Rishabh Pant tested positive for COVID during the three-week break.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah had urged the team to avoid large gatherings after Pant’s result came positive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced events into bio-bubbles in which players have little or no access to outside world while in competition.