All-rounder Moeen Ali has tested positive for Covid-19 at the start of England’s tour to Sri Lanka and is likely to miss the first Test after serving a 10-day isolation period.
England’s whole squad were given the all-clear after a screening round prior to departure on Saturday but received a fresh round of PCR tests on arrival at the airport in Hambantota the following day.
Moeen’s came back positive and he will remain in quarantine until January 13 – the day before the series opener in Galle.
A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board read: “Following PCR tests administered on arrival at the airport in Hambantota on Sunday 3rd January, The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that Moeen Ali has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Ali will now observe a period of 10-days self-isolation, in accordance with the Sri Lanka Government’s protocol on quarantine.”
The ECB also confirmed that Chris Woakes had been identified as a potential ‘close contact’ of Moeen’s and would be obliged to spend a minimum of seven days in isolation while being monitored for symptoms.
“He (Woakes) will observe a period of self-isolation and further testing,” the statement continued.
“The touring party will be PCR tested for a second time on Tuesday morning. At this stage, the team will train for the first time on Wednesday.”
England will be crossing their fingers that the virus has not spread further into their camp, not merely from a player welfare point of view but also due to the viability of the tour.
They are due to play Tests on January 14-18 and January 22-26 and leave Sri Lanka immediately for India afterwards, leaving almost no room for rearrangement.
The last two international assignments have been abandoned, with the original Sri Lanka series postponed in March due to concerns over the virus and last month’s white-ball trip to South Africa called off with three ODIs unfulfilled after an outbreak at the team hotel.