England’s opening one-day clash with hosts South Africa in Paarl has been abandoned due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the bio-secure bubble in which both teams are staying, with two members of England’s touring party returning “unconfirmed positive tests for Covid-19.”
Originally set to take place on Friday in Cape Town, the ODI was delayed to Sunday and relocated after a South Africa player tested positive to COVID-19 on Thursday.
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The unnamed player was sent home from the bio-secure bubble before the entire Proteas squad was subsequently tested, with all cleared of having the virus.
But further concerns were raised when two workers at the Vineyard Hotel shared by both teams tested positive on the weekend.
England players and staff had another round of tests on Saturday evening (after the entire group tested negative on Thursday) and the start of Sunday’s clash was initially delayed as the visitors awaited those results. But the match was abandoned less than half an hour before the first ball was set to be bowled.
A statement from England and South Africa’s cricket boards said: “two members of the England touring party have returned unconfirmed positive tests for Covid-19.”
It is unclear whether those results were players or staff. All members of the touring squad are now self-isolating in their hotel rooms.
Matches had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, with England set to fly back to the UK on Thursday. But the abandonment of today’s match sees the rest of the tour thrown into doubt.