No monkeypox worry for JPL new season
PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL Jamaica Limited chairman Christopher Williams says that while they are monitoring the monkeypox outbreak, they are taking a wait-and-see approach regarding any changes to its health protocols for the upcoming Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season.
Jamaica has reported four cases of the virus, two of them locally transmitted as the country is still navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, though health restrictions have been eased.
The latter part of the 2022 JPL season saw health restrictions relaxed, allowing fans both vaccinated and unvaccinated to return to games.
Williams says that while they are keeping an eye on developments, they will continue to operate under their current health guidelines for the new campaign, scheduled to begin in October.
“Events are taking place. We are proceeding along the lines of the standards and protocols for events. We are getting back to business at much as possible and trying to get the league as attractive and commercially viable as possible so that the clubs can invest in the players and their infrastructures,” said Williams.
The 2021 JPL season was played behind closed doors with strict health protocols under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) which was instituted in response to the pandemic. The 2022 campaign saw a return of fans both vaccinated and unvaccinated when the DRMA orders were rescinded in March.
Sports medicine specialist Dr Akshai Mansingh says that having more information on the virus than COVID-19 during the first few months of the pandemic, following already established protocols of handwashing, sanitising as well as avoiding skin-to-skin contact with persons suspected of having the virus will be sufficient, with no major changes needed to protocols for sporting leagues and events.
“When COVID-19 started, it was six months to work out whether it was airborne. I think with monkeypox we know a little bit more about it. It is supposed to be transmitted only by direct contact. If you follow the procedures that are recommended, then it really shouldn’t spread too much,” Mansingh said.
Williams said that if there were any changes in the situation, the protocols would be adjusted accordingly. While the four confirmed cases are concerning, Mansingh says that they have an advantage in leaning on the template created when sporting events resumed last year.
“We are much more sensitised to how to follow these procedures of distancing of washing and keeping clean. That wasn’t so during COVID. I think the awareness (is there) in terms of how you catch infections and how you prevent them,” Mansingh said.