‘It’s crazy’: Price slams COVID ‘madness’

Steve Price has never shied away from speaking his mind, and the Australian broadcaster has now fumed at the decision to allow thousands of spectators to attend the New Year’s Test at the SCG.

On Monday, Cricket Australia confirmed crowds would be capped at 25 per cent capacity for the third match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy following a surge in COVID-19 cases in Greater Sydney.

Although outdoor gatherings in New South Wales are currently restricted to 2000 people, the SCG could host up to 50,000 spectators throughout the five-day event.

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Speaking on Channel 10’s The Project, Price said it was a mistake to allow large crowds for sporting events while the coronavirus remains a lingering threat in Australia.

“It would be madness if they allowed 10,000 people a day,” Price said on Wednesday evening.

“The risk and reward of these mass sporting events is all out of whack. It’s all risk and no reward.

“What’s the reward? 10,000 people who love cricket get to go tomorrow, sit there wearing a mask in 22-degree heat, most of them will rip them off and slug down beer all day so they don’t have the put the mask on.

“And what is the reward for them? A day at the cricket. And the risk is we all go back into lockdown. It’s crazy.”

The T20 International between Australia and India at the SCG.Source:News Corp Australia

Thousands of people were urged to get tested in Melbourne after a 30-year-old man who attended day two of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG tested positive for the virus.

“We now have 8000 people who are going to have to be tested because they were at the MCG where some bloke may have had COVID,” Price said.

“If you need any more proof, just shut the thing down, and there’s precedent here.

“I can remember back in March, there were crowds outside the gates of Albert Park waiting to go into the Saturday edition of the Grand Prix and they turned them away. They should shut the gates in Sydney tomorrow and turn them away as well.

“What’s Brad Hazzard going to say when next week it turns out that there was a COVID incident at the SCG? And for what?

“I mean, seriously. We are crazy if we let this happen.”

As the third Cricket test is set to get underway tomorrow in front of a Sydney crowd, it’s been revealed someone who went Melbourne’s Boxing Day test later turned out to be COVID positive. Should crowds be cancelled? #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/NZ1cmmJT4C

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the SCG Test would provide a beneficial community morale boost, emphasising that event organisers would enforce “very stringent guidelines”.

“This is an example where the NSW government strategy is to keep jobs, to keep community morale and wellbeing while making sure we are COVID-safe,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Saturday.

“It will be a very controlled and ticketed event, and the fact that people have to wear a mask when going to or from the event, public transport or otherwise, will also mitigate the risk.

“We appreciate what people might say about us continuing to hold those events, but also consider the thousands of jobs it keeps, consider the sense of normality it gives us.”

Justin Langer, coach of Australia, and Tim Paine.Source:Getty Images

Speaking on ABC’s Weekend Breakfast on Sunday, epidemiology expert Professor Raina MacIntyre explained why hosting up to 24,000 spectators at the New Year’s Test was “quite risky”.

“I think it is an unnecessary risk at this critical time,” Prof MacIntyre said on Sunday morning.

“It may also be a time when the cases are starting to increase because if there were transmissions on New Year’s Eve, we would be expecting to see a rise in cases from the end of this week over the following weekend.

“So the timing is also quite risky.”

Prof MacIntyre is a researcher at the University of New South Wales, and has been studying pandemics and disease for more than 28 years.

The third Test between Australia and India will commence on Thursday, with the first ball scheduled for 11am AEDT.

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