The five members of the South Africa Emerging Women’s side, who had tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday while on tour in Bangladesh, returned negative tests on Tuesday afternoon, with CSA saying the initial results were “false positive”. They will now board a 6.30pm flight back home.
The positive reports had come in from Sylhet, where the team had played four one-day matches against the Bangladesh Emerging Women’s side between April 4 and April 11. Following the positive tests, the entire touring party was brought to Dhaka with the five players in question being kept in isolation in a Dhaka hotel even as the other 17 members of the contingent left for home early on Tuesday.
“It is a great relief for all of us, not least of all the players, their colleagues and their families, that all our players and officials are now clear to return home,” CSA acting chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said in a statement. “The health of our players and officials is always our primary concern and we are well aware of the sacrifices that everybody is making to continue playing cricket in these difficult times.”
Ensuring that the five affected players were retested quickly – and their flight back arranged immediately – was vitally important, because Bangladesh is scheduled to go into a lockdown because of the virus tomorrow, with the country’s civil aviation authority having announced that international flights would be suspended for a week from April 14.
The fifth and final match of the series, slotted for Tuesday (April 13), had been cancelled as a result, to ensure the squad was in Dhaka in time for the journey back.
Graeme Smith, CSA’s director of cricket, thanked the BCB for their attention to detail, including sending a medical officer to the hotel where the players had been isolated after testing positive. “I would like to thank the Bangladesh Cricket Board for everything they have done to keep our players and officials safe,” Smith said in a statement. “When the possibility of positive test results emerged, they went out of their way to make sure everybody had the best assistance possible including having medical personnel resident at their hotel.”
The series, which began on April 4 after the South Africans had reached on March 29, was held behind closed doors in a biosecure environment because of an upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh. The home side won all the four 50-over games that were played.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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