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England all-rounder tests positive for COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

January 5, 2021 6:00 am

England all-rounder Moeen Ali has tested positive for COVID-19 upon the squad’s arrival in Sri Lanka.

The 33-year-old, who tested negative before departure, will now isolate for 10 days in accordance with the Sri Lanka government’s quarantine protocol.

Fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes has been deemed as a possible close contact, and will observe a period of self-isolation and further testing.

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England’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka starts in Galle on 14 January.

England had lateral flow tests and a PCR test at Hambantota airport upon arrival, with Moeen’s PCR test returning the positive.

The rest of the touring parting will be retested on Tuesday morning, before being allowed to train for the first time on Wednesday.

Moeen is the first England player to test positive for the virus, with a full summer of games against West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland being completed without any cases.

England’s last overseas tour, in South Africa, was cut short in December after positive cases in the Cape Town hotel where England were staying. England returned two positive tests – that were later verified as false positives.

Last week England captain Joe Root said he did not expect the tour to be postponed if there were one or two isolated cases of the virus.

Since England’s tour of South Africa was called off, Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand and Sri Lanka’s of South Africa have both continued despite positive cases.

England flew on a chartered flight from London to Hambantota on Saturday evening.

All of the players, and touring party, tested negative before their departure and were sprayed with disinfectant upon their arrival in Sri Lanka.

The series was scheduled to take place last year but England flew home after the tour was called off on 13 March as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Sri Lanka has seen 44,774 coronavirus infections and 213 deaths during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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