Crisis averted: England resume Test after positive COVID case in family group

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Day two of the MCG Ashes Test was briefly on hold as England awaited the results of rapid COVID-19 tests following a positive case among the families travelling with the squad.

The England touring team remained at their hotel as the test results were sought and then travelled once negative results were returned about 45 minutes before the scheduled 10.30am start.

Australia’s captain Pat Cummins said the dramatic events were a sign of the times. A Test between England and India in Manchester earlier this year was called off due to positive cases among the Indian team support staff.

England had to remain at their hotel longer than expected this morning. Credit:Getty Images

“It kind of feels like the last few years, doesn’t it?” Cummins said on SEN about an hour before the scheduled start of play.

“It’s sit back and wait. I only found out a few minutes ago. I think, from what I heard, they’re just waiting on a few different results and today’s play shouldn’t be in jeopardy, but it’s a sign of the times, you’ve got to be pretty flexible.”

Ricky Ponting, Mel McLaughlin and Tim Lane among others have been scrubbed from Seven’s Ashes coverage of the MCG Test due to a positive COVID-19 case.

A reserve group of callers will take over the coverage, including Lisa Sthalekar, Alister Nicholson, Mike Atherton, Dirk Nannes, Brad Hodge, Jason Richardson and Andy Maher.

Other commentators affected, who share duties across TV and radio, include Damien Fleming, James Brayshaw and Simon Katich.

After BBC and ABC Radio coverage of the Adelaide Test was drastically affected by a positive COVID-19 case among the Test Match Special team, broadcasters made plans to have reserve groups in place should the same thing happen again.

“The Seven Network confirms it is responding after a member of staff working on the Ashes broadcast at the MCG tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday night,” Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin said. “The staff member was asymptomatic at time of testing and has been in self-isolation since the moment the positive result was returned.

“Seven is activating its COVID measures to ensure the health and safety of all staff, as well as the broader community, and is working in line with all relevant guidelines and regulations. We are working closely with the MCG operational team and Cricket Australia.

“Just as the broader community is experiencing, we have COVID response scenarios in place to ensure the impact on Seven’s broadcast is limited. There have been a number of changes to today’s production schedule, which will be led by Alistair Nicholson, Andy Maher and Jason Richardson, with expert comments from Lisa Sthalekar, Brad Hodge, Callum Ferguson, Michael Atherton and Dirk Nannes.”

More to come.

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