Sydney Test to go ahead with crowds despite COVID risk

The New Year’s Test in Sydney has long been one of the hottest tickets on the sporting calendar. But with a COVID outbreak on our hands, should it go ahead?

Yep, despite unseasonable torrential downpours, it’s still summer and that means cricket. Each and every summer sees a touring nation get on the tour bus and schlep around the giant country and play to giant crowds.

Along with live music, sport has largely closed the door to its spectators in the last year — with good reason. This is why more than a few eyebrows have been raised in response to the news that yes, the Sydney Test between Australia and India will go ahead, despite the city’s looming COVID crisis.

SCG test

Though attendance will be reduced to 25 per cent of the SCG’s capacity (approximately 10,000, although the legal limit for outdoor gatherings is now 2,000), the decision to allow crowds in at all has caused concern amongst COVID experts. With recent outbreaks to the north and the west of the city, there are now 188 active cases of Coronavirus in NSW.

It is “an enormous number“, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, a member of the World Health Organisation’s expert panel on COVID-19 told the ABC, “And for some reason, that problem seems to stop at the gates of the cricket ground and that doesn’t make any sense at all.

Masks will be recommended, but not mandated for attendees. The match begins on Thursday.