Fri | Jul 23, 2021

PFJL finalising JPL testing plan

Published:Monday | June 14, 2021 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
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DISTANT
Molynes United’s Nicholas Nelson (left) goes up for a header with UWI FC’s Sheldon McKoy during their Jamaica Premier League encounter at the UWI Mona Bowl on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Molynes United’s Nicholas Nelson (left) goes up for a header with UWI FC’s Sheldon McKoy during their Jamaica Premier League encounter at the UWI Mona Bowl on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
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MANSINGH
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Board member Lloyd Distant says that Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) and a soon-to-be-named partner are arranging plans for COVID-19 testing to be carried out throughout the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season. Distant says the details...

Board member Lloyd Distant says that Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) and a soon-to-be-named partner are arranging plans for COVID-19 testing to be carried out throughout the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season.

Distant says the details are now being finalised.

“It’s an agreed scheduled between the PFJL, the clubs, and the testing partner,” Distant told The Gleaner. “The indication is that they will have their results early enough to make the decision on and team adjustments early.”

PFJL Chairman Christopher Williams told Radio Jamaica recently that over 7,000 tests will be administered during the season, with the total cost estimated at $20 million.

Distant said the timing of testing, which starts next week, should be reasonable enough for any early detection of cases to avoid complications.

“If you did it a week before, you still have to go back and test,” he said. “The requirement is three days before the league season starts and then three days before [each] game that everybody has to do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

“So the practical timing is that the testing should take place in that three-day window to get back the results and test and say whether someone is cleared to play.

“It is one of the crucial success factors for the season, having structured tests and ensuring that the visibility and awareness that we are running a safe league.”

Sports physician Dr Akshai Mansingh says that a more robust model that consists of testing seven days before, three days before, and on match day would have been more suitable to account for the seven-day incubation period that the virus needs to be present in one’s system. However, he says that the three-day repetitive testing system is feasible.

BEST METHOD

“This is not the best method, but it is workable,” Mansingh said. “Clearly, it’s a way of reducing, but it is not the most robust way. So you have to understand the limitations.”

However, Mansingh says that having the season in this time frame is advantageous as the COVID-19 situation in the country seems to be improving.

“The situation in Jamaica is much better than it was before,” he said. “So that is another thing that is working in their favour.”

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management says that as of yesterday, Jamaica has a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent and has reported 45 new cases of the virus.

With the full schedule of the JPL season now released, Arnett Gardens, UWI FC, Cavalier, and Humble Lion, who start on June 26, would need to do their testing by June 23 in keeping with the three-day requirement. Mount Pleasant, Tivoli Gardens, Portmore United, and Dunbeholden, who play on June 27, would need their groups to be tested by June 24. Vere United, Molynes United, Waterhouse and Harbour View, who play on June 28, would need to be tested by June 25.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com