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England are set to resume their third Ashes Test in Australia despite a number of positive Covid-19 test results arising in the tourists’ camp.
England players and coaching staff all tested negative after an initial positive result by a “family group” member on Sunday, and as such they were given the all-clear to travel to Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) ahead of day two of the series’ third Test.
A small number of coaching staff and two players outside the starting XI are understood to have remained at the team hotel as a precaution, while the number of positive test results among the larger group reached four, affecting two support staff and two family members.
An initial statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Sunday evening read: “The England team and management are currently at the team hotel awaiting results of RFT Covid tests following a positive test in the team’s family group.”
A second statement soon followed, reading: “The England team have been given the all clear to travel to the MCG and we are about to set off from the team hotel.”
Cricket Australia later released its own statement, which read: “Cricket Australia has been informed that two members of the England Cricket Team’s support staff and two of their family members have returned a positive Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test. The affected individuals are currently isolating.
“The entire playing group and all other support staff have undertaken Rapid Antigen Tests this morning and all have tested negative. The England team will also have PCR tests today, and both teams will take extra precautions throughout play. Both playing squads remain unchanged.
“There is currently no further impact on fans or other parts of the venue. Cricket Australia and the MCC will continue to monitor the situation and follow the endorsed Victorian Government Covid-Safe Event Plan.”
The series has been able to go ahead as planned so far despite rising case numbers in Australia, which has adopted a more stringent approach to restrictions than the UK throughout the pandemic.
Australia captain Pat Cummins was ruled out of the second Test after being ‘pinged’ when it emerged he had sat next to a Covid carrier during a restaurant meal on the eve of the game.
England lost the first two Tests and started the Boxing Day Test poorly, bowled out for 185 on day one before Australia closed on 61 for one.
Additional reporting by PA.