Sydney [Australia], December 31 (ANI): Amid fears that the Sydney Cricket Ground hosting the third Test between India and Australia could trigger a spike in Covid-19 cases, New South Wales Venues chairman Tony Shepherd backed the decision to allow fans to watch the much-awaited Pink Test.
Plans for attendances of up to 50 per cent of the venue's capacity at the Sydney Test has prompted concern from health experts, who are worried it could contribute further to a virus outbreak that has since spread to Victoria. The state reacted on Thursday by announcing it would close its border to NSW entirely at 11.59 pm on Friday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Under the current NSW Health restrictions, a daily crowd of about 19,000 can attend the Test when it begins on January 7.
"It's not like a million people milling around Sydney Harbour on New Year's Eve. It's a totally different environment. We wouldn't let a crowd in if we thought it was dangerous. We haven't had a single transmission amongst fans at a stadium since COVID-19 came on the scene," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Shepherd said.
"We've got strict protocols in place, we check on where people come from, we get the QR codes, we have social distancing, we have a lot of security, people can't mix in the stadium and have to stay in their part of the stands. We think we've got a very safe stadium and we wouldn't open it if we didn't think it wasn't. We wouldn't want to have that on our heads," he added.
India levelled the four-match series on Tuesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the win also ensured the visitors moved a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
Cricket Australia on Tuesday confirmed that the Pink Test between Australia and India will remain at the Sydney Cricket Ground as scheduled.
"The decision to keep the New Year's Test at its traditional venue was made after several days of meetings that considered the impacts of the recent COVID-19 outbreak on the northern beaches of Sydney," Cricket Australia had said in a statement. (ANI)