COVID-free hockey players released from hospital, to join India camp after 10 days

Skipper Manpreet Singh and five teammates discharged from a Bengaluru hospital after they recovered and tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

By Naveen Peter

The captain of the Indian men’s hockey team Manpreet Singh and five of his team-mates were discharged from a Bengaluru hospital on Monday after recovering from the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The 28-year-old Manpreet, along with goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, midfielder Jaskaran Singh, striker Mandeep Singh, and defenders Surender Kumar and Varun Kumar, had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month upon arriving at the national camp at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centre for Excellence in Bengaluru.

With the players being asymptomatic, they were initially advised to self-isolate inside the SAI campus, before the SAI authorities chose to move them to the nearby SS Sparsh Multi-speciality Hospital as a precautionary measure.

Manpreet Singh, along with five other Indian hockey team players, were admitted to a Bengaluru hospital. Photo: Hockey India

Dr Arun Kumar of SS Sparsh Multi-speciality Hospital in Bengaluru said, “All six players have recovered fully and their vitals are absolutely stable. They will be in quarantine at SAI's Bengaluru centre and will be given the antibody test after 10 days to check if they have built immunity against the virus.”

The national camps for the men’s and the women’s hockey teams are set to begin on Wednesday, but the six players, who are being quarantined at the ground floor of the players’ hostel, will have to at least 10 days in self-isolation before they can join their team-mates.

While the cause of the infection is yet to be ascertained, the authorities believe that the players could have contracted the virus while travelling back to the national camp after a month-long break.

Upon arrival, the players had to undergo a rapid test for COVID-19 as per the protocols laid down by SAI and the state government.

Though their initial reports returned negative, with Manpreet Singh and Surender Kumar showing COVID-19 symptoms, a second round of tests was conducted, which confirmed the infection.

The Karnataka state government has deputed a medical officer to the SAI campus while the SAI also had experts from Manipal hospital, a private facility in the city, diagnose the players before moving them to the nearby COVID-19 centre.