COVID cluster hits first Test as more commentators sent home


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The new COVID-19 outbreak that has rocked Australia ahead of Christmas has affected the first Test in Adelaide with broadcasters and media taking precautions to ensure the safety of staff.

Fox Sports and Channel 7 have both moved to minimise risk by standing down and sending home key personnel and commentators.

Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee flew home to Sydney on Friday while both networks have sent a number of staff to undergo Covid testing.

And on Friday night it was revealed former Test captain — and northern beaches resident — Ian Chappell had been ordered to leave the Adelaide Oval.

Lee, who lives on Sydney’s northern beaches where a cluster has emerged, does not have any symptoms and has not been to any listed hot spots.

The Australian legend has spent considerable time away from his family this year and does not want to spend Christmas without them should he be forced to quarantine at a later point.

It followed a memo from Cricket Australia urging the media covering the game who have been to the northern beaches over the past three weeks to contact them as soon as possible.

Fox Sports’ executive director Steve Crawley said Lee was comfortable with the decision to fly home to Sydney and forgo calling the remainder of the Test.

“We had a good talk last night. He went back this morning. Of course everyone is being responsible and he totally understood that,” Crawley said,

“We have had to send out a number of staff to get them tested. Brett is in the air now, he’s gone back this morning.

“It was just the right thing to do and he was very comfortable doing that.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that Chappell had been told by the SA Government midway through day two to leave the Adelaide Oval immediately and isolate.

“It’s disappointing but you have to do what you are told to do,” Chappell told The Daily Telegraph.

“I will have a COVID test tomorrow morning and I’m not sure what will happen after that.

“We will have to wait and see.”

State and territories are currently revising their guidance and border restrictions in response to the northern beaches cluster which has recorded 28 cases to date. It could have an impact on the remaining Test matches should borders be closed.

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