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Two England cricket members test positive for coronavirus after South Africa ODI cancelled

ECB says ‘unconfirmed positive tests’ for two members of the touring party have resulted in the first ODI in Paarl being cancelled after two staff members at the team hotel also tested positive for coronavirus

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Sunday 06 December 2020 09:21 GMT
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South Africa’s first ODI against England has been cancelled after two hotel staff workers tested positive for coronavirus
South Africa’s first ODI against England has been cancelled after two hotel staff workers tested positive for coronavirus (Getty)

England’s first One-Day International against South Africa has been abandoned after two members among the tourists tested positive for coronavirus.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board on Sunday morning confirmed that following a fresh round of Covid-19 testing, two people returned unconfirmed positive results. They will now need to be retested to confirm the positive test.

The squad underwent urgent testing on Saturday night after it was revealed that two hotel staff members at The Vineyard Hotel, where England are staying, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, one day after a South African player also contracted coronavirus.

A statement read: “Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have agreed to cancel today’s One-Day International match, which was due to take place in Paarl.

“The decision was taken after two hotel staff members testing positive for Covid-19. As a precaution, the England players and management underwent an additional round of PCR tests on Saturday evening. Following the test results, two members of the England touring party have returned unconfirmed positive tests for Covid-19. The players and management are now self-isolating in their rooms until further advice from the medical teams.

READ MORE: South Africa player tests positive for Covid-19

“The medical advice from both CSA and ECB is that the match cannot not take place.

“A decision on the remaining matches in the series will be taken once the results of the tests are ratified independently by medical experts.”

The remainder of the tour is now in major doubt, with the second ODI due to take place at Newlands on Monday before the third fixture at the Cape Town ground on Wednesday. With England plates and staff self-isolating, there is a very realistic prospect of the entire tour being cancelled.

"We regret that we are unable to play in today’s ODI, but the welfare of the players and support staff is our primary concern and whilst we await the results of further tests the medical advice from both teams was that this game should not take place,” said the ECB’s managing director Ashley Giles.

"We remain in constant dialogue with Cricket South Africa and will continue to work closely with them to determine how best to move forward.”

Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith, the current CSA director of cricket, added: “CSA is doing everything in our power to ensure that our top priority, which is the health, safety and welfare of players, support staff and all involved in this series is safeguarded. With that in mind, we have made the joint decision to cancel today’s match.

“We are deeply regretful of the situation we find ourselves in after the amount of time and energy that has been put in place to host a successful tour.

“We are in continuous talks with the ECB as we navigate the situation under the guidance of our combined medical teams.”

Ashley Giles said the safety of players and staff is ‘the primary concern’ (Getty)

Roy Davies, general manager of the Vineyard Hotel, issued a statement revealing the members of staff had tested positive on Friday and had since been isolating.

"The Vineyard Hotel can confirm that two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, 4 December following the positive test of a South African player on Thursday, 3 December," he said.

"At this stage, it is not clear how the staff members became infected as neither have left the bio-secure area since 16 November and they do not work on the same team or in the same area. Our Covid response team is endeavouring to establish all the facts and contact tracing is underway.

"Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff and guests and we have placed all our resources and efforts into investigating and resolving the situation. Both members of staff and a player who also tested positive on Friday are currently isolated in on-site apartments some distance from the hotel which have been kept sterilised and available for this purpose."

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