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No more COVID cases in Aussie Test squad

Australia are hopeful Travis Head will be the only enforced omission for the SCG Test after the rest of the squad tested negative for COVID-19.

Head is isolating in Melbourne after contracting the virus, meaning he will miss the fourth Ashes Test that begins on Wednesday.

There were concerns that teammates and support staff would become part of an outbreak, prompting selectors to add cover players Mitch Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis to an enlarged squad.

Every person in Australia’s touring party, including family members, was tested on Friday.

Cricket Australia (CA) has revealed those results, confirming there are no new COVID-19 cases among players and support staff.

The test result of one family member is yet to be received.

Australia and England’s squads will continue to be tested daily, with the prospect of further cases still possible in coming days, but the hosts aren’t planning on summoning additional players.

CA was notably concerned about opener Marcus Harris, who dined with Head this week as Australia celebrated taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series against England.

Harris did not board Friday’s delayed charter flight, remaining in Melbourne as a precautionary measure after Head’s result triggered a yes-no-wait-maybe process.

“We were supposed to leave mid-morning and didn’t end up coming until 5pm or 6pm … probably the longest I’ve had in Australian transit,” Khawaja said.

“But we’re here now, so happy to go ahead.”

CA is still mulling the best way for Harris, Marsh, Maddinson and Inglis to travel from Melbourne to Sydney for the fourth Test.

Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon drove from Victoria to NSW and it’s possible the quartet may also hit the road.

A charter flight would be a costly exercise for four squad members, the majority of which are likely to be running drinks in Sydney.

CA’s health experts have shielded Australian and English players from commercial airlines in an effort to reduce the risk of any of them catching the coronavirus.

But, at this stage, CA have opted against dialling up biosecurity restrictions.

It means the enlarged squad, which will feature a total of 19 players once Harris and the newcomers link up with teammates, will train together rather than smaller groups.

Players and support staff are barred from dining indoors but free to leave their hotels provided they practise social distancing.

Some three support staff and four family members in England’s travelling group contracted COVID-19 in Melbourne, while under-pressure coach Chris Silverwood did not make the trip north because he is isolating as a close contact.

Match referee David Boon has tested positive, meaning NSW-based Steve Bernard will be in charge of the SCG Test.

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