England's troubled build-up to the fourth Ashes 2021-22 Test against Australia amplified on Sunday with head coach Chris Silverwood testing positive for COVID-19. He was already in isolation in Melbourne following a positive test among a family member of the touring party. (More Cricket News)
Silverwood, 46, is fully vaccinated. He is asymptomatic and will stay in isolation until 8 January.
"England men's head coach Chris Silverwood has tested positive for Covid-19," a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said.
The visitors are preparing for the fourth Test with a skeleton coaching staff. Pace bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin mentor Jeetan Patel and strength and conditioning specialist Darren Veness have also tested positive.
It has left assistant coach Graham Thorpe in charge of the squad for the upcoming match.
"Silverwood has been isolating in Melbourne since December 30 following a positive test from one of his family members. He will remain in isolation until January 8. Silverwood is asymptomatic and is fully vaccinated," the statement read further.
Earlier in the day, one of England's local net bowlers was also confirmed to be tested positive for COVD-19 and a scheduled training session was cancelled.
These latest developments will further dent the morale of the touring party, who have suffered demoralising defeats in the first three matches.
The fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground is scheduled to start on January 5.
Earlier in the week, members of the England set-up had cleared a round of COVID-19 testing just before Day 2 of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after two from their support staff and two from their families returned positive for the virus.
As a result of the positive cases, the start of play was delayed.
Australia has seen a spike in COVID cases in recent weeks much like the rest of the world.