Birmingham, March 18: The Indonesian badminton team has withdrawn from the ongoing All England Championships after all the players and the officials were forced to isolate themselves for 10 days following a COVID-19 positive case in their flight to London, the world governing body (BWF) said on Thursday.
"... a number of players and team members from the Indonesian team have been contacted by the UK Government's National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace service and are required to self-isolate with immediate effect," the BWF said in a statement.
"In accordance with UK Government requirements, the entire team will self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their inbound flight after a person travelling onboard tested positive for COVID-19."
The world body said results of the matches that have already taken place will stand and "the draw will remain unchanged." "All scheduled opponents in the next round will be given a walkover," BWF said.
BWF later said that a Turkish player Neslihan Yigit was also forced to withdraw as she was on the same inbound flight from Turkey to UK as the Indonesian team.
These withdrawals will deplete the field, which has already been affected after Chinese, Koreans and Chinese Taipei shuttlers decided not to compete in the Super 1000 event.
Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie were fourth and fifth seeds respectively in men's singles.
In men's doubles, world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and world number two Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan were the top and second seeds respectively, while world number seven Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto were seeded fifth.
In the mixed doubles, Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti were the top seeds, while Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu were the third seeds in women's doubles.
"Tonight we're in shock to hear the news that we (Indonesian players and officials) have to withdraw from all england due to an anonymous passenger tested + for covid that board the same flight as we did," Gideon wrote on Instagram.
Gideon slammed BWF for the mismanagement. "It has to be taken to notice that BWF has failed to organise this matter. Before the flight, all of the Indonesia team had been tested negative & we were also re-tested by the time we reached the hotel," he said.
"Some of you may notice that the game today was delayed prior to 7 positive cases they found in other team members (other country). After they have been retested, the results were ALL TURNED NEGATIVE. So why don't we also have the same justice here?" he questioned.
The All England Championship was thrown into chaos after few players, including from India, tested positive for COVID-19 and some results came inconclusive.
BWF soon delayed the start of the opening day's play and retested all positive and inconclusive results after "sufficient doubt was raised over the accuracy of the original batches of tests submitted by Badminton England."
With all positive and inconclusive results coming negative for COVID-19, the world body decided to include all the players into the draw. Gideon, who along with Sukamuljo, had reached three finals in the last four years here, said BWF should have a bio-bubble to ensure safety of the players.
"And if there are strict rules for entering the British area due to covid, BWF should have enrolled a bubble system that guarantees our safety. Players should have undergone a quarantine before the event," he wrote.
"To be fair, the person who has been tested + should have undergone another test because truly we have no faith anymore in the Covid's test they ran because as you all can see all the 7 positive cases can turned into 7 negative cases in just 1 day."
BWF and Badminton England said "the decision to enforce Indonesian team players and entourage, and now Yigit, to self-isolate for 10 days was made independently by the NHS Test and Trace service."
"This action is in accordance with the UK Government COVID-19 protocols and requirements as per its national legislation, and separate to any guidelines set by BWF and Badminton England ...," it said.
"Subsequently, BWF and Badminton England had no other option but to follow the NHS directive and withdraw the participants from the tournament."