Covid ‘unable to spread between humans from cricket or tennis balls’

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We’ve missed not playing with our balls during the past few months but experts now say it is perfectly safe to grab hold of them again.

Researchers, led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said it "seems unlikely" sports balls and accessories are a major cause of Covid-19 transmission.

It was least transferrable on absorbent materials like cricket gloves and tennis balls compared with non-porous equipment like racing saddles and rugby balls.

Senior lecturer Dr Emily Adams said: "Anything that is slightly absorbent like a tennis ball or some of the leathery cricket balls, it’s very difficult to transfer any live virus off those.

"We think that transmission from sports equipment is probably very low in these cases.

"The public health intervention should be focused on players and how players interact before a game, during a game and after a game and in transport rather than the sports equipment itself."

Player contact is a higher risk, she says.

Elite sport using the more absorbent balls, currently on telly includes the 2021 Australian Open which got underway earlier this week.

Transferring coronavirus through balls might not be much of an issue but the threat of passing it on elsewhere at Melbourne Park has been addressed.

Crowd capacity has been reduced and those in attendance must wear face masks.

Rugby union's Six Nations – which uses a ball more likely to spread the virus, according to the latest research – kicked off last weekend without any spectators whatsoever.

England cricket's second test against India is set for Saturday.

  • Coronavirus
  • Tennis
  • Cricket

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