Former Test captain and commentator Ramiz RajaRamiz Raja told a media outlet that England batsman Alex Hales has reportedly shown symptoms of COVID-19 upon his return to London after taking part in the unfinished Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020. After the report, the PSL has been postponed indefinitely due to the fears of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“What I know is that he is yet to have tests but we don’t know whether the symptoms he has is of Corona or not. But we all now need to be very cautious and obviously adopt a common sense approach to deal with this problem,” Raja said. Hales had also tweeted “Self-isolation begins…TV series to watch please”, before deleting the post.
The PSL which was being played behind closed doors was scheduled to host its two semifinals until Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the franchise owners decided “to call off the tournament for the time being”. Although not directly mentioned, PCB CEO Wasim Khan said that the decision was taken after “an overseas player having a suspected case” was reported.
Hales, who played for Karachi Kings in the league, was among the other England player who left early as the number of cases rose in Pakistan and the indication of possible travel restrictions and quarantines in the country. The following weekend after returning home, Hales developed a subsequent fever and dry cough that led him to follow government guidelines of self-isolation before conducting a test.
Confirming the news, the 31-year-old denied the speculations of Raja in a statement posted on his official Twitter account. “In light of the speculation and rumour that is currently circulating within the cricketing world and on social media, I felt I needed to give a full explanation of my situation,” Hales statement read.
“Like many other overseas players, I reluctantly left the Pakistan Super League early because, with COVID-19 reaching global pandemic status, I felt it was more important to be with my family rather than face a period of lock down thousands of miles away from home,” he explained. He said that he returned to UK “feeling perfectly fit and healthy and with absolutely no symptoms of the virus”.
“However, I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government’s advice of self-isolation, a process I am still following having developed a dry and persistent cough.“ Hales also called out those who spread fake news and tagged it as a “dangerous behaviour”, confirming that a test is not possible but will have a confirmation later on.
It also forced Surrey’s Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach to self-isolate for 14 days, after partying with Hales the day before Hales developed the symptoms. If tested positive, Hales is the first cricket star to have infected by the virus, which have already infected over 330,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 15,000 at the time of writing.
In Pakistan, there are nearly 7,800 cases with 8 deaths and 13 recoveries at the time of writing. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Europe as the new epicentre of the pandemic. In Italy alone, nearly 60,000 confirmed infections and over 5,000 deaths are reported. Several sporting events have already been called off.
Among the notable sporting events halted due to the pandemic includes, Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix Formula one with the new season to commence on June 7 as the earliest. The Indian Premier League (IPL) also postponed the start of the new season for 17 days. However, Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain firm in continuing the event.
Popular names in sports that have tested positive for the virus include Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, Juventus star Paulo Dybala and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. In NBA, Kevin Durant, Sean Payton, and Donovan Mitchell are all tested positive. Japan Football Association president and vice chairman of Japan’s Olympic Committee Kozo Tashima was the latest name in sports to acquire the disease.
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