Why there's no COVID-19-crisis at Ellis Park
REACTION: The Lions are confident that there never was a COVID-19 outbreak at the franchise, despite the postponement of last week’s match against the Cheetahs.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen and team doctor Rob Collins fronted up to the media, after they were cleared to go ahead with their Super Rugby Unlocked Round Four encounter with Griquas.
Despite six positive cases – two confirmed in mid-week and another two from additional testing last Friday – the Lions received the ‘all clear’ from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases after “no new positive results” were produced during Tuesday’s batch of tests.
Van Rooyen admitted the events of the last week were challenging, but said they are an ‘adaptable’ team.
“We are not oblivious to what is happening, but we will be ready,” Van Rooyen told a virtual media briefing ahead of their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter with Griquas, at Ellis Park on Friday.
“I have to commend the players and feel they are in a good space.”
The team doctor, Collins, was at pains to stress that some of the positive results may well be ‘false positives’ and that all the disruptions were part of the protocols they have to follow.
The doctor confirmed that it all started with one player being symptomatic and another player ‘most likely’ got it from him.
Those players have since completed their isolation periods.
There were two other positive cases last week, which the Lions team doctor said he suspected were ‘false positives’ and both were asymptomatic.
“As a result of the four ‘positive’ cases the National Institute for Communicable Diseases required us to do further tests last Friday,” Collins told the virtual media briefing.
“There were another two positive cases from the Friday tests.
“They [the NICD] were concerned that it could be an outbreak and as a result, the game [against the Cheetahs last Saturday] was postponed.
“That was purely a precautionary measure.
“We quarantined the team till Tuesday, which is when we did another set of tests,” he said.
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In a meeting between SA Rugby, the Lions medical staff and the NICD after this week’s test results were confirmed, it was determined that there was no outbreak at Ellis Park.
“It was determined that what we [the Lions] have done was adequate to control the situation and we are able to play [against Griquas on Friday].”
He reiterated that it is “not” regarded as an outbreak.
“It was two people who were driving together and one of them contracted it from a family member. The rest of the people were not related or in contact with those [two] people and produced positive tests in the same way as any member of the public could.
“We are taking precautions to ensure there isn’t an outbreak.”