England pass coronavirus tests in Sri Lanka after Moeen blow

Published January 6, 2021
In this 2018 file photo, England's Jack Leach (front) and captain Joe Root celebrate as they walk off the field after they won the match against Sri Lanka. — Reuters/File
In this 2018 file photo, England's Jack Leach (front) and captain Joe Root celebrate as they walk off the field after they won the match against Sri Lanka. — Reuters/File

The England cricket team all passed coronavirus tests after all-rounder Moeen Ali was found to have Covid-19 and have been cleared to start restricted training in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, a spokesman said.

Moeen was found to have the coronavirus shortly after the squad arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday and has been put in isolation in a hotel away from the other players.

The result was an early blow to preparations for the two Tests in Sri Lanka that start in Galle on January 14. But the plans in the secure bubble in Hambantota in the south of the island are now largely back on track.

“Good news from the camp all PCR tests from yesterday are negative except for Moeen Ali, and we can start controlled training this afternoon,” said an England spokesman.

Chris Woakes, who had been a close contact of Moeen, tested negative but will continue to isolate in his room. The tourists must undergo a third test on Thursday.

Sri Lanka have just finished a tour in South Africa where they lost two Tests and are due to return home on Friday. They will also have to go into a biosecure bubble.

Joe Root and his players arrived on a charter flight as nearly all international flights to Sri Lanka are banned and flights from Britain have been halted following the discovery of a new, more infectious coronavirus strain.

The 18-man England squad, with seven reserves, are resuming a Sri Lanka tour halted by the pandemic in March. England's tour of South Africa was also cut short last month over coronavirus fears.

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