South Africa hit by second positive Covid-19 test ahead of England series

A second South Africa player has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the white-ball series against England. The player has been removed from the team’s biosecure base in Cape Town, taking the number of players self-isolating from the squad to four.

According to CSA, none of the 24-man squad came into contact with the player, as they have been operating under social distancing rules since arrival.

As a result, South Africa have cancelled their intra-squad training match, which was scheduled for Saturday. Although CSA did not go into detail about whether this will affect the series, which is due to start next Friday, it gave assurances to England, who have returned negative results all round, that communication lines will be kept open.

England have also confirmed that their own intra-squad match at Newland on Saturday will go ahead.

“Team management and Cricket South Africa are in close communication with their counterparts from the ECB to ensure full transparency and the most responsible plan of action going forward,” a CSA statement read.

The names of the affected players will not be released, in keeping with doctor-patient confidentiality norms and no replacement players will be called up.

On Wednesday, CSA announced that one player had tested positive from the first round of tests, conducted on Tuesday, and two others had been in close contact with the player. The player was put in separate accommodation and the close contacts isolated. A second round of tests on Thursday revealed that another player had also tested positive. The players will be tested again next week, before the series starts.

The effects of Covid-19 have been felt on South African cricket since its attempts to resume in July. The exhibition 3TC match saw several players pull out for reasons related to the pandemic. When the domestic season started two weeks’ ago, the Warriors franchise had to withdraw six players from their squad after two tested positive and four others were close contacts.

On Thursday, South Africa coach Mark Boucher said sport would have to learn to live with the virus, and the most important thing was taking care of players’ physical and mental health.