Sport ODI cancelled as coronavirus strikes England touring party in South Africa

ODI cancelled as coronavirus strikes England touring party in South Africa

A Boland Park board announces the first ODI in Paarl, South Africa was abandoned on Sunday. Photo: AP
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Two members of the England touring party in South Africa have returned “unconfirmed positive tests” for COVID-19 as the first one-day international was cancelled because of a virus outbreak at the hotel where both teams are staying.

The England and Wales Cricket Board did not release any names and didn’t say if the two members were players or officials.

It said the two positive tests came after an additional round of testing on players and officials sparked by the news that two staff members at the Cape Town hotel used by both teams for the series had tested positive for COVID-19.

The players and management are now self-isolating in their rooms until further advice from the medical teams, the ECB said.

The remainder of the tour is now in doubt after the first of three ODIs was already postponed from Friday after a South African player tested positive for COVID-19.

The South African, who was also not named, is the third South African player to test positive during England’s tour.

The news that the two hotel staff members tested positive initially caused a delay to the start of Sunday’s game in the nearby city of Paarl.

It was later abandoned with news regarding the two members of England’s party. The ECB stressed, however, that their tests were “unconfirmed” positives.

The ECB and Cricket South Africa said in a joint statement that the medical advice had been to cancel the match.

“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 two cricket bodies said.

“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,” England men’s cricket managing director Ashley Giles said.

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

Two of the South African players who have tested positive on the tour returned their positive tests before the three-game Twenty20 series, which went ahead and that England won 3-0.

The teams were due to play three ODIs, but it’s uncertain if they will go ahead now. England is due to return home on Thursday.

All the England players and officials now face possible extra quarantine requirements before they are reunited with their families before Christmas.

England’s six-game limited-overs tour was organised at short notice to fill gaps in both teams’ schedules created by the coronavirus pandemic.

But it has coincided with South Africa, once one of the worst-affected countries in the world, seeing signs of a second surge of the virus.

All six games were to be played in Cape Town and nearby Paarl to limit travel for players and officials but it’s one of the regions in South Africa that’s now seeing an increase in virus cases.