PBA: ‘Cluster isolation’ to be implemented if one tests positive for COVID-19 in practice

Published July 13, 2020, 3:00 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Affected batch to cease training if member turns up infected
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial (PBA Images)

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said Monday that the league has added a few more measures to its health protocols, including “cluster isolation” as approved by the board to be part of guidelines for its return to practice sessions.

Marcial had an online meeting with the league governors last Saturday, and one of the key things agreed on is the isolation per cluster in the event a player tests positive for COVID-19.

“Nag-agree na ang board on that na kung may mangyaring ganun, per cluster or batch lang ang titigil, hindi naman kailangan yung buong team,” Marcial told the Manila Bulletin.

That set up of isolating a cluster was discussed during Marcial’s meeting with the coaches of 12 teams last Friday.

Early this month, the government, through the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, allowed the return to practice of pro basketball and football players.

Together with the Games and Amusement Board, the league crafted a guideline where only four players per team with one coach and a health officer will be allowed at the training facility.

The four players will have an hour, before another batch replaces them for another practice session. There will also be separate schedule for groups so players will have alternate training days.

Marcial explained that if there is a single case of COVID-19, the batch or ‘cluster’ would be automatically tested and isolated, but the training of other groups will continue.

“Ganun ang mangyayari, kung isang player lang naman, yung cluster lang nila,” Marcial said.

“Pero kung halimbawang may dalawa o tatlo, pero sa iba’t ibang cluster naman, ibang usapan na yun. Pwedeng yung mga cluster lang nila, or pwedeng ipa-test yung ibang players, baka naman wala sila (COVID-19).”

The said measure has been added to the guidelines already approved by the IATF, GAB and the board, which will have strict ‘hospital standard’ health protocols as soon as training resumes.

Marcial said that while the IATF has approved the return of practice of pro basketball, the league is still waiting for the official letter from the IATF and GAB before the PBA announces return dates.

READ: Scrimmages eyed next after team practice green light

“Malalaman namin this week, inaantay pa namin yung official communication, manggagaling sa IATF and sa GAB. Kapag meron na yun, saka malalaman kelan ang unang araw ng practice,” said Marcial.

The league opened last March 8 where it played just one game because the coronavirus outbreak forced its cancellation.