England’s South Africa tour in jeopardy as hotel staff test positive for Covid

The first ODI between South Africa and England has been cancelled due to two positive covid test results from members of their hotel staff.

The news meant that England's squad and support staff went through a further unexpected round of testing late on Saturday night and are awaiting those results before they even contemplate playing again.

But even if England return a full set of negative results the ease with which their own bubble has been breached has confirmed their huge concerns over its security.

And with the tour already on a knife edge, this latest set of positive results could be enough to bring the tour to a premature end without any games played.

The England team remained at their hotel base in Cape Town while TV production staff and groundstaff prepared for action on Sunday morning in Paarl.

But once the teams failed to appear an hour before play, it was clear the game was under threat in the same way it was when the first ODI was postponed on Friday.

England have long held suspicions that the bio-secure bubble in Cape Town was not as secure as theirs was during the summer and five positive cases, three South Africa players and two hotel staff have confirmed it.

Senior management from both sides were locked in meetings throughout Sunday morning to discuss where the tour goes from here but it is clear that the second and third games scheduled for Newlands on Monday and Wednesday are now both under threat.

Cricket South Africa's chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra was at pains to point out that the unnamed player who had tested positive earlier in the week had not left the bubble at any stage, and the manager at the Vineyard Hotel has insisted his staff have operated under the same restrictions.

Roy Davies, General Manager said: "The Vineyard Hotel can confirm that two staff members tested positive for Covid19 on Friday 4 December following the positive test of a South African player on Thursday 3 December.

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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