England’s Moeen Ali is found infected with the new UK variant of the coronavirus, Sri Lankan authorities confirmed on Wednesday after cricketer tested positive for COVID-19 on his arrival in Sri-Lanka 10 days ago.
Deputy Chief Epidemiologist Hemantha Herath told reporters in Colombo that England’s all-rounder was Sri-Lanka’s first case of UK’s new Strain of coronavirus which is believed to be more dangerous & transmissible. The health ministry further said that extra precautions were ordered to ensure Moeen Ali did not spread the new strain of virus in the country which is still battling a surge in coronavirus infections but did not elaborate further what they were doing in terms of extra safety efforts.
A ban on flights & passengers from Britain was not applied to the England Cricket team which arrived on a Chartered Aircraft earlier in January to play two test matches the first of which will begin from today.
Moeen’s initial 10-day quarantine was extended on Tuesday after he experienced mild symptoms and fatigue.
All-rounder Chris Woakes admitted that chances of him playing the first game remain “quite slim” after being a close contact of Moeen and isolating for seven days.
Moeen & Woakes are a part of an 18 man England squad with seven additional reserve players in Sri Lanka to resume the Test Series which they abandoned in March when the virus was declared as a global pandemic.
Moeen was also England’s joint highest wicket-taker along with Jack Leach in their 3-0 series win in Sri Lanka in 2018. Moeen was one of the three spinners including Dom Bess & Leech in the main squad. Sri Lanka has seen a sudden surge in virus cases since October with the total number of infections passing 50,000 on Wednesday. The number of deaths has increased to 244 from just 13 at the start of October.