England's Dawid Malan reacts during the 3rd T20 match against South Africa in Cape Town. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
England's One-Day International (ODI) cricket series in South Africa was cancelled on Monday after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the luxurious Cape Town hotel where both teams are staying.
Both squads have had members infected, while two staff members at the hotel have also contracted the disease.
Dawid Malan dives to make it to the crease asQuinton de Kock attempts to stump him out. AFP
The news will be a massive financial blow to embattled Cricket South Africa (CSA) and also casts doubt on their ability to host future tours, with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia all set to play in the country in the coming months.
The decision to call off the series was taken by both the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa, the two federations said in a statement, and was made "to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams.”
The opening game of the series was scheduled for Friday but was postponed to Sunday after a South African player tested positive for COVID-19 on the morning of the game.
That first ODI was then cancelled completely on Sunday after it was revealed two hotel staff members had been infected with COVID-19, forcing the England contingent to undergo a new round of tests.
Two members of the England group then tested positive for COVID-19, although the ECB said it wanted the tests verified by an independent medical team before making a decision on the remainder of the tour.
South Africa players looks dejected after they lose the T20 series. Reuters
The South Africa team and Vineyard Hotel management said they had investigated how the coronavirus may have been contracted within the bio-secure environment without success, though they denied any players or staff had left the venue without authorisation.
It is a disappointing end to what was supposed to be a welcome, money-spinning return to international cricket for South Africa, who had been inactive since March when they cut short a limited overs tour to India.
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