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Although athletes worldwide are being allowed to compete in major sporting events despite positive COVID-19 test results, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has chosen to maintain its 2022 policy, requiring players to undergo a week-long isolation period before rejoining their teams, according to ESPNCricinfo on Saturday.

While this season will not utilize bio-secure bubbles, which were previously mandatory for three years since the pandemic began, the IPL remains cautious.

COVID-19-positive players will not be allowed to participate in any training sessions or matches until they provide a negative test, which can be taken on the fifth day of recovery at the earliest.

The IPL’s medical guidelines, distributed to franchises this week, state, “Although there has been a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in India, we still need to be vigilant due to the emerging strains that are causing concern regularly.”

The guidelines also specify that positive cases must be isolated for a maximum of seven days and are prohibited from engaging in any activities or events during this period.

From the fifth day, players can undergo an RT-PCR test, as long as they have been asymptomatic without medication for 24 hours. They can rejoin the group only after obtaining two negative RT-PCR test results, 24 hours apart, on days five and six.

The IPL emphasizes that testing will focus on those displaying COVID-19 symptoms, not asymptomatic individuals. Players who test positive after day seven must provide two negative COVID-19 test results, 12 hours apart, before rejoining the team.

COVID-19 restrictions are gradually easing, including in international cricket. In August last year, Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath became the first player to participate in a cricket match after testing positive for the virus.

She played in Australia’s Commonwealth Games 2022 cricket tournament final against India, which her team won. Later, during the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade, who had tested positive, played in his team’s match against England, which was washed out.

In January, Australian opener Matt Renshaw exhibited symptoms of the illness on the first day of a Test against South Africa.

He tested positive before the toss but still took part in the match.

The first match of IPL 2023 will take place on March 31, featuring defending champions Gujarat Titans, who also topped the IPL table last year, and four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).