Kieron Pollard

CK AT THE HELM: Kieron Pollard, seen batting against Jamaica Tallawahs during CPL 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica, will be leading Trinbago Knight Riders again this season.

—Photo: Randy Brooks — CPL T20/Getty Images)

A spike in cases of Covid-19 infections in Trinidad and Tobago has resulted in a reduction in the amount of persons allowed to congregate in spaces from 25 to ten, However, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley insists that the country’s hosting of the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will not be affected.

The entire CPL is scheduled to take place in Trinidad from August 18 to September 10 with matches taking place at Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba and Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain.

At a press conference yesterday, Dr Rowley noted that Government would be keeping a close eye on the number of local Covid-19 cases popping up but he stating that “the CPL games are quite different”.

“We have moved from sporadic to having some clusters. We don’t know the origin of some of these infections...We are not at the stage of community spread. We are treating with clusters in one or two areas,” said Dr Rowley.

“We are going to respond, not through panic or through overreaction, but we will respond now by reducing the amount of contact that is likely to happen and to do so, we would go back from the groups permitted--groups of 25 going back to permitting groups of ten. So we will change the regulation and reduce the amount of people allowed to congregate. That is fundamental response in reducing the amount or persons exposed,” he added.

Asked about the possible impact on the CPL, he said: “The CPL games, that’s a bubble. Everything that will go on around the CPL will go on in a bubble that does not interact with the national population.”

He noted that teams, officials, etc. would be entering the country under the protocols of entry, all having been tested negative before and they would be confined to the Trinidad Hilton which would become a bubble for them.

When they come here, they are confined to the Hilton Hotel and that becomes a “bubble” for them.

“Even in the hotel (they are limited to) groups of seven and after seven days, (they will have) another round of testing and then they will move on.”

Dr Rowley added they would not interact with the population when they leave the hotel for the playing of matches.

“And let me add this, CPL pays for its presence here and all the services they get here, so it is not that we are using our money to bring in people to play cricket. The way we see CPL, it is another business aspect in the country. It is televised and the benefit we get from it is that we promote the country. We have established very strict protocols and it is written in the arrangements that if any player breaches those protocols such persons will come under exclusion and not be allowed to participate,” Dr Rowley stated.

CPL personnel are expected to start arriving in Trinidad over the weekend and early next week, with approximately 250 persons expected to start their 14-day quarantine at the Hilton.

Those coming into Trinidad will have to undergo Covid-19 tests before departing their country of origin and upon arriving in Trinidad. After seven days of quarantine they will undergo a third Covid-19 test and their fourth such will be administered after the 14 days.

International and regional players and officials of Trinidad-based franchise and three-time CPL champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) were expected to arrive in the country yesterday.

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