Hotel gym and pool ban for South Africa to prevent exposure to coronavirus… and they’re even using fire escapes to prevent contact with England with four stars now in self-isolation ahead of first T20 game
- South Africa take on England in the first of six white-ball matches on Friday
- The hosts were planning on having a practice match on Saturday afternoon
- Match cancelled after a second South Africa player tested positive for Covid-19
- Four members of South Africa’s squad are now in self-isolation due to the virus
There appear to be no limits to what South Africa’s players and management are prepared to do to reassure the touring English that they are safe and will not be exposed to coronavirus.
Including living like second-class citizens in the luxury Vineyard Hotel which both teams are sharing.
New safety measures and protocols were introduced for the Proteas after a second player tested positive for the virus on Friday, measures which mean no England player will tread in the footsteps of a South African, no matter how far apart.
Cricket South Africa called off Saturday’s practice match ahead of the England matches
A second member of South Africa’s squad to face England tested positive for Covid-19
The home team have not only handed over exclusive use of the hotel’s gym and swimming pool to Eoin Morgan’s men but have even resorted to using staff entrances and fire escapes instead of the usual doors and corridors to avoid any contact with the tourists.
‘We have ceded the common areas of the hotel to the England players,’ said Cricket South Africa’s chief medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra. ‘We always had separate dining areas but since the second positive test we have been using alternative access routes to get around. The two teams are now in completely different bubbles.’
Since Friday, the Proteas have also stopped using the hotel gym and swimming pool. Instead of having separate times to use the gym and deep-cleaning the facility between each squad’s use of it, team management arranged to have different gym equipment brought to the hotel and set up in a different room.
Eoin Morgan (above)’s England are visiting ahead of six money-spinning white-ball games
The swimming pool had been available for ‘free use’ by both squads because of its substantial size and the fact it is open-air, but that too has changed.
The extra measures will only be in place for a total of six days provided the entire Proteas squad tests negative for Covid-19 today and again on Thursday, when both squads will be tested ahead of the first T20 international at Newlands on Friday.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada yesterday described the team hotel as ‘like a luxury prison’ but the hosts may find it less constrictive once they can use the main door rather than the ‘goods entrance’.
Should all 47 players test negative, life will return to ‘normal’ in the original bubble and the players — and fans — can finally focus fully on the cricket.