In a bid to ensure the fourth Ashes Test scheduled at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is not moved out by Cricket Australia (CA) due to stricter pandemic norms, the New South Wales (NSW) government has decided to tweak its COVID-19 isolation rules.
On Tuesday, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard assured the fans that the SCG Test will go ahead as scheduled from January 5. While the hosts clinched the Ashes on Tuesday morning and took an unassailable 3-0 lead, the series is a money-spinner for the venues and the state governments.
As per the current isolation rules in NSW, players have to isolate for seven days if they are deemed to be close contacts to COVID-positive cases, while in Victoria state — where the third Test ended in Melbourne — those who are deemed close contacts of positive cases are only required to isolate until a negative test is returned.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan had asked Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday to relocate the fourth and fifth Tests of the series, scheduled in Sydney and Hobart, to Melbourne because of Victoria’s relaxed COVID rules.
“The SCG Test is sacred, an important date at the start of the third year of our life with COVID-19,” said Hazzard.
“I want to assure the cricket-loving public, under our rules any players with exposure to a known case of COVID-19 would be asked to test and isolate only until a negative result was received.
“If there are any cases within the teams, their support staff, or families, we will work with the people involved to ensure they are safe, and there is as little disruption to others as possible,” Hazzard was quoted as saying by sen.com.au.
The Sydney Test commences on January 5.