England squad cleared to fly home after confirmation of false positives

England have announced that the two suspected cases of Covid-19 within their touring party were false positives, following independent ratification of the tests.

The ECB revealed on Sunday that a full round of tests had returned “unconfirmed positive” results for two members of the touring group, understood to be a player and a member of support staff.

Neither displayed any symptoms, raising the possibility that they had received false positives, and after further analysis of the results in both Cape Town and London, Professor Nick Peirce, the ECB’s chief medical officer, issued a statement on Tuesday to say that neither individual was Covid-positive.

“Following the independent ratification of the two unconfirmed positive Covid-19 tests from the England camp in South Africa, the England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that, following further testing and analysis, in the opinion of the independent virologists based in Cape Town and London, the two individuals are not infected, and do not pose any risk of passing on the infection to the rest of the party,” the statement said.

“As such, the advice is they are now free to join the rest of the group and are no longer self-isolating.”

Ashley Giles, the ECB director of men’s cricket, and medical staff would have stayed behind in South Africa until December 15 if the individuals had been confirmed as positive. Instead, they will be free to fly home on Thursday on the team’s chartered flight.

More to follow…