Basketball: NBA begins daily virus testing ahead of 2020-21 campaign

The upcoming season will see 72 games per club to be staged at empty home arenas. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - National Basketball Association (NBA) players begin daily Covid-19 tests this weekend ahead of next month's start of the 2020-21 season under health and safety procedures outlined by the league to clubs.

The guide unveiled on Saturday (Nov 28) details protocols regarding the upcoming campaign, which is set to start on Dec 22. Pre-season contests will open from Dec 11 and training camps will launch next week.

Last season was completed in a bio-secure "bubble" in Orlando after being halted in March by the Covid-19 pandemic. This season will see 72 games per club which are to be staged at empty home arenas.

The league is to announce its upcoming season schedule in the next few days.

Individual workouts through Monday will be voluntary, followed by required individual workouts from Tuesday to Saturday and required group workouts set for Dec 6-10.

Among the key provisions of the protocols, which mention no criteria that might cause the NBA to suspend the season, were a small number of cases or independent Covid-19 positives not requiring a season shutdown.

Anyone testing positive can return to work by going 10 or more days after the first positive test or onset of symptoms or produce two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Any player who tests positive, even if without symptoms, must wait 10 days and then be monitored in solo workouts for two more days before returning to the team.

An anonymous tip line will be established to report possible safety protocol violations, something that was also used in the Orlando bubble.

Team travel parties will be limited to 45 people, 17 of them players, as they visit arenas across the nation.

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