David Warner says it’s inevitable that more players will become close contacts of COVID-19 cases as numbers rise around Australia.
Pat Cummins’ status as a close contact has shone a light on restrictions through the Ashes, with Cricket Australia adamant they don’t want to limit players’ freedoms too tightly.
Cummins will spend the next week in quarantine in Adelaide after interaction with a man who later discovered he had contracted the virus at dinner on Wednesday night.
The situation could have been far worse, with Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon at the same restaurant but able to play on given they were only casual contacts after sitting outside.
Restrictions will tighten somewhat in both Melbourne and Sydney from next week, with more than 1000 cases per day being recorded in both cities.
But Warner accepts Cummins’ case is unlikely be the last to impact the series, as players attempt a commonsense approach.
“It’s inevitable in today’s society that people are going to get COVID or become close contacts,” Warner said on Thursday night after his 95 against England.
“Unfortunately, Pat was in a spot where someone had tested positive that day.”
Warner’s comments came as Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley stressed the importance of players’ mental well-being and how that would be under threat if placed in a hard bubble.
“What we don’t want to do is to completely lock down the players,” Hockley said on Thursday.
“We’re very conscious of taking a precautionary approach.
“Our chief medical officer and our medical team will be working with the playing group, the ECB and their medical staff to make sure over the course of the rest of the Test match and over the rest of the tour, that we’re mitigating the risk.
“I spoke to my counterpart this morning and everyone wants to see both sides with their full-strength best side out on the park.
“I think dining outside is a great way to further mitigate the risk.”
Exact restrictions are yet to be locked in for Melbourne and Sydney, but Warner revealed on Thursday he believed that would now include not being able to eat inside while in the two cities.
The opener also stated that players had been told not to go out in groups bigger than three, and to ensure they are extra cautious to avoid busy places, restaurants of cafes.
“With the borders opening and COVID hitting South Australia it’s up to obviously the medical staff (what the rules will be),” Warner said.
“We have to check in with each other to see which restaurants everyone’s going to (to ensure the group is not too large in one place).
“It’s just being smart, isn’t it? Don’t go to where you think restaurants are going to be jam-packed.
“Thankfully it’s a day-night game, we don’t have to worry about that now.
“But, obviously, breakfast and all that kind of stuff. It’s a tough one but we’ve got to just be smart.”