The protocols being followed by Mumbai Indians for the Indian Premier League in the UAE are so foolproof that the probability of the COVID-19 infection in the bio-secure bubble will be as low as the chances of getting struck by lightning twice in a day.
The preparations, precautions and tests have been in place much before the Rohit Sharma-led squad boarded the chartered flight to the UAE. The contingent members, including the families, cannot breach the virtual fort called “bio-secure bubble”. Those serving the tour party will also be part of the bubble, away from the outside world.
The protocols for travel, hotel stay, team practice and other services have literally zero-tolerance for exposure beyond the safe environment circle.
The 30 steps stated below will explain, what all is going into the keep the virus threat out.
- COVID-19 Test: Each member of the tour party was tested every 3 days prior to the departure to the UAE.
- Quarantine: The contingent is quarantined for 7 days in India in a hotel and 14 days in Abu Dhabi.
- Hospital Tie-ups: The franchisee tied up with HN Hospital and NM Medical in India and a local hospital in Abu Dhabi.
- Flu Shots: All players and staff were given flu shots before travelling.
- Arogya Setu App: As part of both govt protocol Arogya Setu and a local Government app called ALHOSN were made it mandatory for all the members.
- Bio-secure bubble: Each and every member, including family, will follow this quarantine protocol and will not be allowed to step out beyond areas designated by the team that is sanitised and created as part of the bio-secure bubble. If anyone chooses to leave on re-entering will have to follow through the quarantine process again so as to not risk anyone else.
- Check-in and Security Check: For security check, the main check-in luggage is sent in advance a night prior. The hand luggage was cling wrapped from the hotel and all electronics were separated in an MI branded laundry bag with names to be kept in the hand with passport etc.
- Hazmat Kit: The members were given 2 Hazmat kits (PPE) for travel, to be worn from the hotel. There is an advisory to not to eat, drink, touch, shop at duty-free or use public restrooms till the flight
- In-flight Protection: Before boarding, the worn Hazmat kits were disposed and fresh gloves and masks (MI Branded – made as per medical protocol) were given for use during the flight. On deboarding, members wore the second Hazmat suit to the hotel.
- Flight Sensitisation: The flight was a chartered sanitised and staff on board tested at least twice. The staff was wearing PPE kits throughout and no food or beverages were served.
- Own Snacks and Water: Sandwiches and water on the flight were packed by the team in advance and served by two of two personal helpers of the team, who have been tested and in the bubble with the contingent.
- COVID-19 Test: On landing right at the airport embers were tested again and will be tested every 3 days till November 12.
- Hotel Protocol: Room key cards were given in the bus before arrival in the hotel, each bag was spray sanitised before members headed to their rooms.
- Disposables: All laundry bags, masks, Hazmat kits, gloves, etc were disposed of before entering the hotel.
- Laundry Protocol: Each member had to give laundry within 20 minutes of entering the room and each person to shower and give out laundry to ensure the clothes from outside do not touch anything else.
- No Room Service, housekeeping: During 14 days of quarantine no housekeeping, no in-room servicing is permitted. There are electronic menus with In QR Code for beverage services. Food is served in disposable plates etc. There is a fixed set of 30-40 items in a-la-carte and some 15-20 breakfast items to choose from in the 24/7 room service.
- Toiletries: Extra supplies towel, toiletries, water, etc. to be delivered only at door by housekeeping.
- Hotel Staff Protocol: Hotel staff serving the team to wear a mask and gloves while on duty. The staff to take COVID-19 tests every 3 days and stay in the hotel “bubble” for 3 months, just like the team. Staff dedicated to the team not allowed to serve other guests and remain in the team “bubble” in the kitchen, pantry or service area.
- Recreation. A cordoned off wing for the players is created to make them feel at home with recreational games like darts, poker, PS4, mini basketball and a dedicated gym with equipment hired for three months. The use of the hotel gym is forbidden. Players’ wing has a dedicated wing and a 24/7 restaurant.
- CCTV Monitoring: There is 24/7 CCTV monitoring to ensure that no one moves from room to room during the quarantine period.
- Training and Practice: Based on the BCCI protocol, teams will start training 15 to 20 days prior to the tournament. The players will get tested, equipment sanitised at hotel and stadium. There will be no storage of any stuff at stadiums. The players and staff will come train and leave.
- Strict Control: Once training starts, there will be one DNA person outside the bubble. If any stuff is required from outside it will be delivered at the hotel, sanitised and delivered to the squad three days after that.
- Servicemen: A tailor, a barber and professionals providing other amenities have been hired exclusively and they will be part of the bubble.
- Sponsor Shoots: MI has hired a local crew director, production, makeup artistes, etc., for the sponsors shoots. The crew will be part of the bubble. The brands can have their own additional director to guide the dedicated crew. All shoots will be done by this crew, which will be part of the “bubble”.
The price to hire and host the production team here will be divided equally by all companies choosing to shoot. This was discussed and agreed upon by BCCI in the call with all franchises when discussing the way forward in the early stages of tournament moving to UAE.
- Croma Background: To minimise the use of properties for the shoot, which will only be allowed indoors, the crew will use the same Croma background for all brands.
- Sponsors’ Rights Revised: Each Sponsor has been informed about the revised rights for the season.
- Protocol for Local Service Providers: Local brands, vendors for water, drinks, buses and other transport, etc were sought and explained the testing, sanitisation process and how they will need to adhere.
- Tracking Symptoms: An Oura Ring like in NBA, English Cricket, Football etc will be provided to all in the bubble, allowing medical staff to track the slightest of symptoms online if there are any.
- Travel Insurance: Visas and travel insurance for the touring party were done by the team in advance.
- E-Cash: Each Member of the team is given travel forex with a per diem/daily allowance to pay for lunch and dinner as breakfast is all-inclusive.
Mumbai Indians will open their title defense on September 19 against Chennai Super Kings in what will be a repeat of the last year’s final. The IPL 2020 final is slated for November 10.
The Reliance Group-owned Mumbai Indians will be staying at the Five Star property of one of its commercial partners Marriott – St Regis, Sadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.