Cape Town: Two members of the England touring party in South Africa have returned “unconfirmed positive tests" for COVID-19, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Sunday, as the first one-day international was cancelled because of a virus outbreak at the hotel where both teams are staying.
The ECB did not release any names and didn't say if the two members were players or officials. They 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.
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Boucher was speaking on the eve of South Africa’s departure for Pakistan, where they will play two Test matches, starting in Karachi on 26 January.
UAE and Ireland will play a second one-day international in Abu Dhabi on Monday after two matches of the scheduled four-game series were called off due to COVID-19 concerns, officials said.
The South Africa squad, which includes 21 players, underwent their first COVID-19 tests soon after landing in the country's financial capital on Saturday morning and according to their media manager, all the reports came negative.