There is anxiety in the England women’s camp after a member of their support staff tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the multi-format Ashes series in Australia, captain Heather Knight said on Friday.
England is due to play three Twenty20 internationals against Australia, beginning from January 20 in Adelaide. It will be followed by a standalone test in Canberra from January 27-30 and three one-day internationals from February 3-8.
The staff member who tested positive will isolate in Canberra while the rest of the group travels to Adelaide ahead of the first T20 match. A further round of tests will be carried out before the team flies to South Australia next week.
“We were prepared for this,” Knight told reporters. “I think it would be pretty naive to think we wouldn’t be affected by it (the virus) but there’s concern and anxieties from the group.
“We’ve had to live under pretty strict protocols since we’ve arrived, we’ve only been allowed to socialise outdoors for exactly this reason, to try and limit the spread.
“It’s going to be a nervous 24-48 hours, but the PCR tests we’ve done already have all come back negative… We’ve had to ‘safe live’ for two weeks in the UK, from Christmas pretty much, just in order to get out here. It’s been a colossal effort.”
After successfully containing the virus earlier in the pandemic, Australia has reported nearly a million cases over the last two weeks.
Knight said that the lead-up to the series had been “pretty average”, with the England team allowed only individual training for two weeks before arriving in Australia.
“As you can imagine, it’s been pretty comical and also not ideal preparation for a series of this magnitude but it’s been completely unavoidable,” she added.
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