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Irene lodge in bio-bubble lockdown ahead of Indian team’s arrival

The plush Irene Country Lodge in Centurion has gone into full lockdown in preparation to host India for the Gauteng leg of the Test tour against SA later this month.

The Indians will be based at the hotel for the Boxing Day Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion and the New Year’s Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg before moving to Cape Town.

India are scheduled to play three Tests and three ODIs from December 26 to January 23 across four venues after engagement between Cricket SA (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The Test series will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship while the ODI series will be played as a bilateral and not part of the ICC Men’s World Cup Super League.

MD at the Irene Country Lodge‚ Anwar Karrim‚ said the lodge has hosted two successful bio-bubbles at the hotel during the height of the pandemic on behalf of Cricket SA.

“The first we hosted was last year in December and January when we had both SA and Sri Lanka at the hotel‚ and the second was in April and May of this year when we had SA and Pakistan.

“We have done this before and we are looking forward to hosting India. It’s a real privilege. As far as the bio-bubble is concerned‚ the hotel is on lockdown to the public as we speak.

“You must remember that in two previous bio-bubbles we hosted we were at the height of Covid-19. I recall that when Sri Lanka were here last year‚ we were in a stricter lockdown. But there is no distinction between the previous bio-bubbles and this one.”

Karrim added that the priority is the safety of everyone involved‚ and essential hotel staff are already in quarantine in anticipation of India’s arrival.

“All the protocols are in place to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone involved. It is not just in the interest of the hotel but also for SA because we must do everything possible to ensure that this tour goes ahead.

“No-one is allowed to enter the bio-bubble‚ the staff involved are already quarantining at the hotel where they go through regular testing in the build-up to the arrival of the Indian team.

“Tests are conducted several times to ensure the safety of everyone. The hotel has been zoned off into various sectors to ensure that there is no contamination.

“Everything that comes on to the property is thoroughly checked to ensure that all the health and safety requirements are met and we have a Covid-19 compliance officer at the hotel.

“The teams also provide us with their compliance officers and between them they do whatever is necessary to ensure safety at all material times.”

– TimesLIVE

Source: ARENA Holdings.