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A member of the British and Irish Lions management team in South Africa has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Lions said that the individual and four close contacts, including two players and two members of staff, are being isolated and assessed at the team hotel.

The positive result came following a lateral flow test as part of the Lions’ tour screening programme on Wednesday.

All members of the touring party have since been PCR-tested.

The latest developments are a huge setback to the tour’s prospects. The Lions are due to face South Africa in a three-Test series, starting on July 24.

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A Lions statement said: "The British & Irish Lions can confirm that a member of its management team has tested positive for COVID-19 following a lateral flow test as part of the Tour screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July.

"The individual and four close contacts – including two players and two members of staff – are being isolated and assessed at the team hotel. All members of the touring party have since been PCR tested.

"This evening’s game against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park will still take place provided the subsequent round of PCR testing returns negative results later this afternoon. Should this be the case, the kick-off time for tonight’s game will be adjusted to 8pm (SAST) / 7pm (BST)."

British and Irish Lions tour badge
(Image: PA)

Ben Calveley, Managing Director for the British & Irish Lions, added: “We have followed all necessary precautions since the start of the Tour, which included regular testing and rigorous COVID-19 counter measure planning and protocols.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of the entire touring party, which is why we quickly isolated the players and staff upon receiving the news of the positive result.

Warren Gatland the Lions head coach
(Image: Getty Images)

“Everyone has subsequently been lateral flow and PCR tested. The Medical Advisory Group await the results of the PCR testing in order to make a decision on tonight’s game.

“The five individuals effected will be monitored closely during isolation and receive the bestlions possible medical attention as we await the results of their PCR tests.

“Further updates will follow in due course.”

Meanwhile, South Africa's meeting with Georgia is off on Friday, after both camps were hit by Covid.

While the Lions’ game against the Sharks is currently still going ahead, the tour has entered a critical phase.

Coronavirus is threatening to cause havoc to the schedule and doubts will now resurface over the wisdom of pressing ahead with the event.

South Africa is battling against a spiralling crisis that has resulted in a hard lockdown which includes a curfew, alcohol ban, travel restrictions and school closures.