Fresh from their 2-1 victory over Hyderabad FC in a pre-season friendly, Indian Super League (ISL) outfit NorthEast United FC were hit by news that two of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, as per a report by the Times of India.
Following this, the management has decided to halt the team’s training with the entire entourage now quarantining inside their respective hotel rooms.
The Highlanders have been using the Panchayat Ground in Candolim for their pre-season training with both their practice matches, against Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC, taking place there.
It is therefore slightly concerning that players have contracted the disease since strict health and safety protocols have been put in place at the hotel and the training venue. However, unlike other teams who use their own team bus wherein the drivers are also included inside the bio-secure bubble, NorthEast have been using their hotel’s own transport services.
The ISL's guidelines dictate that the entire team has to now keep themselves isolated and those who are not close contacts to the ones infected will be allowed to re-join the bubble, but only for outdoor training, when they return two consecutive negative tests. A third negative test will then be required for them to return to all forms of training, meals and so on with regular tests every 72 hours thereafter.
It remains to be seen how this story develops over the next couple of days, especially with the side’s first match of the campaign being on the 21st against a strong Mumbai City FC outfit at Tilak Maidan.