England cricketers exempt from UK travel ban: Lanka

England cricketers exempt from UK travel ban, says Sri Lanka

This comes after several countries have isolated UK after a new 'more transmissible' strain of coronavirus was found there

England's Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler celebrate in a T20 match against South Africa. Credit: Reuters Photo

The England team will be allowed to fly to Sri Lanka despite flights from Britain being suspended due to a new coronavirus strain, the island's cricket authorities said Wednesday.

England are due to arrive in Sri Lanka on January 3 for two Tests -- played without spectators -- in Galle starting on January 14.

Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva told AFP the visitors would be tested for coronavirus before departure and on arrival, and would also have to undergo quarantine for 10 days in a "bio-secure bubble" on arrival.

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Sri Lankan civil aviation authorities suspended all direct flights from Britain on Tuesday but the England team will travel on a chartered flight, he said.

"Our doctors have been talking to the England team's doctors and they are quite satisfied with the arrangements," de Silva said.

"Both teams are looking forward to the tournament."

England cricket authorities said Wednesday they had received assurances that players and staff, who travelled back to Britain on December 10 following the ill-fated tour of South Africa, will not have to spend the Christmas period in quarantine before travelling to Sri Lanka.

South Africa was identified by the British government on Wednesday as the origin of a new mutant strain of coronavirus found in Britain.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement that since the players returned from South Africa "they have undergone ongoing symptom and testing checks and will not need to quarantine".

Sri Lanka has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases but has still officially recorded relatively low 38,000 cases with 183 deaths.