Boyz at home in chilly Vienna
...But two members of party under COVID-19 watchTuesday, March 23, 2021
VIENNA, Austria — Jamaica's full complement of 20 players and staff were greeted to snow flurries and 41 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures upon arrival at their hotel in Austria yesterday and, according to Team Manager Roy Simpson, everybody has settled in nicely, despite question marks of two positive COVID-19 test results.
The Reggae Boyz arrived in two batches with nine players and staff travelling from Jamaica and 11 players from the United Kingdom.
“We all arrived safely, which is always good, and everybody met the conditions to get landed, which is also a good thing... based on the rigidity of the requirements due to the pandemic and what is happening now concerning travel. But I think we did well in terms of covering those requirements,” Simpson told the Jamaica Observer last evening.
Yesterday evening all members of the delegation were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with the results expected by midday today.
But two individuals learnt of positive COVID-19 test results when the group travelling from Jamaica landed at the Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Simpson sought to clear the air on what happened and how it is being managed.
“To the matter of the two positive cases within the camp, it is not that they tested positive here. What had happened is that both persons travelling out of Jamaica did PCR tests on Saturday, March 20, because the requirement to get into Austria is for a negative PCR test no later than 72 hours before arrival in the European country. However, before departing Jamaica the two were unable to get the test results from the authorities that they had engaged… but one person went ahead and did a private PCR test on the same day and got back a negative result on that second PCR test. The other individual, on arriving at Norman Manley International Airport, did an antigen test [and attained a negative result] which landed him in the US.
“When both persons met the delegation at JFK in New York, the person who did the antigen test in Jamaica had to do another test, because that antigen test would not have landed him in Austria. After I consulted with the Austrian airline authorities they indicated to us that if the person does an antigen test within 40 hours of landing in Austria that would have been okay. He did that test which was negative, so we were on our way to Austria and we landed in Frankfurt and that was when the PCR tests administered in Jamaica on March 20 came back positive.”
Simpson further noted that both gentlemen have since been retested and that he hopes their results will be consistent with the privately done PCR test by one of the individuals, and with the two antigen tests done by the other person.
The veteran manager was quick to point out that, despite the best efforts of the team's management to keep the delegation safe, there is always the danger of somebody returning a positive result based on the present spike in the country.
“I want to take this opportunity to share that operating in the pandemic, though you put all measures in place, and though you don't want any member of the delegation testing positive, it is always a high probability that you will have a positive result, and especially where we are now in Jamaica with the spike due to the positivity rates.
“The data suggests that four in every 10 Jamaicans if tested will be positive, but we assure everybody that all measures have been taken to protect the other members of the delegation, not necessarily because of the two positive cases, but it has always been how we operate in these semi-bubbles.
“Arriving in Austria, the protocol is that we would have checked into our rooms [one person to a room], do the PCR test, remain quarantined until we get the results, then the group can integrate. However, it is still from the backdrop of single rooms, N95 masks, social/physical distancing, especially in the meal room, how we are transported, continuous sanitisation, so we are confident that we will have a successful project as it relates to how we control the environment in this pandemic,” said Simpson.
The manager also indicated that he has personally met with the players who are joining the group for the first time, and he indicated that they are “excited” to be a part of what the group is trying to achieve, while hoping that the negotiations between players and the federation come to an end quickly so that the best available pool of players can settle down to building chemistry and unity ahead of the Concacaf Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.
Once the PCR results are favourable, Head Coach Theodore Whitmore will conduct his first training session at 6:00 pm this evening (noon Jamaica time).
The game against the USA is slated for Wiener Neustadt at 6:30 pm on Thursday behind closed doors.
Full squad — Jeadine White, Kemar Foster, Adrian Mariappa, Michael Hector, Curtis Tilt, Amari Bell, Ethan Pinnock, Liam Moore, Wesley Harding, Renaldo Wellington, Chavany Willis, Ricardo Morris, Jabari Hylton, Andre Gray, Omar Holness, Kevaughn Isaacs, John Luca Levee, Shaven Paul, Jamal Lowe and Kasey Palmer.
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