COVID-19: England’s ODI against South Africa abandoned after hotel staff test positive | World News

England’s first one-day international against South Africa has been abandoned after members of the team’s hotel staff tested positive for COVID-19, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.

The first ODI in Paarl was initially postponed on Friday after a member of the South Africa team tested positive, but both teams agreed to resume the series after the Proteas all tested negative on Saturday morning.

That was the third South Africa player to test positive during England’s tour.

But on Sunday it emerged that two members of staff at the Vineyard Hotel, where the England team was staying, were confirmed to have COVID-19 after tests on Friday.

The England squad and backroom staff had a fresh round of tests on Saturday evening and the game, which had been due to start at 8am GMT, was delayed pending the results.

England are on a six-game ODI tour of South Africa
England are on a six-game ODI tour of South Africa

Any positive tests among the England team could cause the remainder of the tour to be called off.

A statement from the ECB, issued before the game was cancelled, said: “Cricket South Africa and the England and Wales Cricket Board have agreed to delay the start time for today’s one-day international match, which is due to take place in Paarl.

“The England players and management underwent an additional round of PCR tests on Saturday evening, after two members of the hotel staff tested positive for COVID-19.

“While the ECB awaits ratification of those test results the decision has been taken to delay the start of today’s ODI match.”

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Roy Davies, general manager of the hotel, said in a statement: “The Vineyard Hotel can confirm that two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, following the positive test of a South African player on Thursday.

“At this stage, it is not clear how the staff members became infected as neither have left the bio-secure area since November 16 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 under way.

“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 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.”

England’s six-game ODI tour in South Africa was organised at short notice to fill gaps in both teams’ schedule during the pandemic, but comes when the country is seeing signs of a second wave of the virus.

All six games are due to be played in Cape Town and nearby Paarl to limit travel for players and officials.

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