England cricket stars do not need to quarantine over Christmas and the New Year, the ECB have confirmed.
Players such as Jofra Archer and Joe Root were nervously waiting after Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared on Wednesday that two cases of another new strain of Covid-19, linked to South Africa, had been identified in the UK.
As such the Government is telling those who have been in contact with anyone who has been in South Africa in the last fortnight that they must quarantine.
England’s players departed South Africa on Thursday, December 10 after the ECB and CSA postponed the men’s ODI Series.
But after talks between the ECB and Government, they have released a statement confirming: “The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can confirm that those team members and support staff who returned on December 10 from South Africa, as part of England men’s white-ball tour, have been following the Elite Sports International guidance concerning activity in the UK.
“During this period, they have undergone on-going symptom and testing checks and will not need to quarantine.”
They also confirmed good news with regards the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka in January.
“Regarding the England men’s Test squad and support staff, they will continue to prepare as normal ahead of the Sri Lanka Tour,” the statement continued.
“The touring party is due to leave on January 2 2021.
“The ECB will continue to monitor the on-going situation in respect of international travel and working closely with Sri Lanka Cricket.”
England are due to play two Tests against Sri Lanka, having already named their squad.
The new variant of the Covid-19 virus is driving a resurgence of the disease in South Africa, leaving experts to warn that the country could face a much larger second wave.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, the Health Secretary said: “Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.”
He added: “We are incredibly grateful to the South African government for the rigour of their science and the openness and the transparency with which they have rightly acted as we did when we discovered a new variant here.”
Mr Hancock continued: “This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK.”
The Health Secretary said both cases and close contacts of the cases have been quarantined and there are immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa.
He added: “These measures are temporary while we investigate further this new strain which is shortly to be analysed at Porton Down.”
The South Africa squad started training on Wednesday morning after all 17 players returned negative results after a third round of Covid-19 tests ahead of their upcoming Test matches with Sri Lanka.