England confirm false positive Covid tests with all players to return from South Africa

England have confirmed their tour party are covid free following negative test results for the two members who appear to have recorded false positives on Saturday.

Those results were independently verified in both Cape Town and London before a new set of PCR tests confirmed the anomaly.

It means the entire England squad who were due to fly to London together on Thursday can do so with no risk and with no one left behind.

In a statement, ECB chief medical officer Professor Nick Peirce said: “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.

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

The news will be reassuring to both the tour party and to Cricket South Africa who can confidently state that no member of the touring party contracted coronavirus in their bio secure bubble.

This should also provide reassurance for future tourists Sri Lanka and Australia who are due here next.

It may also lead some to wonder why England are leaving without playing when they had a full clean bill of health all along.

The nervousness and anxiety though had already gripped the players and the decision as made.

Four members of the tour party, Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone and Lewis Gregory, will all be tested on Tuesday before heading to Australia for the Big Bash.