Aussie cricketers to be evacuated to luxury resorts in the Maldives or Sri Lanka within days after the IPL was suspended – while 9,000 ordinary Australians are still trapped in Covid-ravaged India
A mass exodus of Australian cricketers and staff will flee coronavirus-ravaged India to either the Maldives or Sri Lanka following the suspension of the Indian Premier league.
The lucrative IPL tournament featuring the some of world’s biggest stars was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday after multiple players tested positive to coronavirus in recent days.
A 38-strong Australian cricket contingent remains stranded in India including players, coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, as well as a commentator from New Zealand who lives in Australia.
Some of the biggest names in Australian cricket, including David Warner, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Ricky Ponting are among 9,000 Australians unable to return home until at least May 15 due to a travel ban enforced by the federal government.
Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley expects the Australian contingent to depart India in two or three days for either the Maldives or Sri Lanka.
Australian bowlers Pat Cummins (pictured with partner Becky) is expected to flee to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days
They will spend at least 10 days in Maldives or Sri Lanka until May 15 and will then have to quarantine for another 14 days once they return to Australia.
They will then return home on a charter flight organised by Indian cricket’s governing body.
‘The absolute priority is to get them home safe and well,’ Hockley told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
‘We’re not seeking any kind of special exemptions whatsoever.
‘We will – any kind of quarantine arrangements would be over and above the cap. So our main priority is we would work with the Australian Government and the relevant state governments to make sure that we’re not taking spaces of anyone else that’s available.’
David Warner (pictured with wife Candice) remains stranded in India
Pictured are Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg (left) and Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley (right)
HOW THE MALDIVES LOOPHOLE WORKS
Any visitor can travel to the Maldives, as long as they have proof of a negative Covid test in the 96 hours prior.
From April 27, those coming from India cannot stay at tourist facilities in heavily populated areas – but can stay in private residences.
They are also allowed to stay in resorts and hotels in secluded areas of the islands.
Before returning to Australia, travellers must show they have not been in India in the past 14 days.
Then on arrival, they must still enter hotel quarantine for a fortnight in Australia, as with any overseas arrivals.
Source: Visit Maldives
Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg added: ‘They are still a long way from home … we don’t have a definitive timeline on when they will go (from India).’
Those heading to the Maldives will join former Australian opener Michael Slater, who was working as a commentator in India but managed to escape to the tropical island paradise earlier this week as the coronavirus crisis in India worsens.
A three-and-half hour flight away, there were about 450 new cases in the Maldives this each day this week, which is dwarfed by the 400,000 infections seen daily in India.
Upon arriving in the Maldives, travellers need only present a negative Covid-19 test from the last 96 hours.
Then they must wait the government-mandated two weeks before flying back to Australia, where they then enter another fortnight of mandatory hotel quarantine.
Cases have soared past 20 million in India since the pandemic began and deaths have surpassed 220,000, with the nation’s health system on the brink of collapse.
Australia bowlers Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson last week fled the IPL, returning home via Qatar.
But any Australian attempting that journey now risks jail time and fines amid the travel ban, though the prime minister said the possibility of such sanctions were remote.
Australian cricketers looking to flee escape India following the suspension of IPL could flee to the Maldives (pictured) like Michael Slater
Australians stranded in India
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
**Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) left the IPL early and beat the Morrison-government’s travel ban.