By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, December 30 (Reuters) – Australian authorities ask fans at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) not to cheer too loudly in third test against India next week as the city grapples with a COVID outbreak -19.
The New South Wales (NSW) government restricted movement and tightened the limits on gatherings in Sydney on Wednesday, as the state recorded 18 new cases. with public gatherings capped at 30, authorities have given the green light to a half-capacity crowd at the 48,000-seat SCG, though fans will be asked to keep a lid on their cheers.
“We will distribute masks on public transport to enter SCG and advise people to wear masks when they are not physically at their seat,” said the NSW director of health, Kerry Chant, at a press briefing Wednesday.
“We’re also asking people to make sure they recognize (the rules) around shouting and chanting, especially when they’re not in their fixed location.”
After weeks without a new case of COVID-19, NSW has recorded more than 100 infections linked to a recent outbreak on beaches north of the city.
Governing body Cricket Australia considered moving the third test to Melbourne, but confirmed on Tuesday that it would move forward with Sydney as planned from January 7. Players and staff are in Melbourne following the traditional ‘Boxing Day’ test, which India won by eight on Tuesday. wickets, leveling the four-game series at 1-1.
To mitigate the risks, they will be staying in Melbourne longer than planned before arriving in Sydney a few days before the start of the match.
They will also be subject to more stringent biosecurity protocols in Sydney and for the fourth test in Brisbane.
Australian paceman Pat Cummins said it would be difficult for some players, a number of whom haven’t spent time with their families for months on the road.
“We’ll take care of everyone the best we can, but the priorities are to get through this series safely and everyone is desperate to play those last two tests,” Cummins told reporters Wednesday.
(Edited by Peter Rutherford)