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Mark Wood column: Life in England’s ‘sci-fi movie’


The bio-secure environment in Southampton, where we are preparing for the Test series against West Indies, feels a bit like a sci-fi movie.

When we first turned up, there was a huge tent outside the hotel, where we had to pass through to get our temperature scanned. We dropped our bags off so they could be sprayed before they were taken in.

Inside, there are no room keys – you open doors with an app on your phone. There is hand sanitiser at every turn, and on the floor there are arrows, lines and footprints to show the way to go. We fill in a health questionnaire each morning and take our own temperature before we go to breakfast.

When we use the lift, we press buttons with our elbows, and only four people can get in at once. In the lift, everyone turns out to face a different wall, which makes it quite difficult to have a conversation.

We have to wear our accreditation any time we are not in our rooms or on the training pitch. The accreditation has a chip that tracks your movements, so if anyone does get ill, we will know who they have been in contact with. Similarly, we wear face masks any time we are not in our rooms or outdoors.

At meal times, it is just like being back at school. We queue up (socially distanced, of course), and take a tray and cutlery that is wrapped in a bag. You move around and ask to be served the food you would like, then take it to sit at your own individual desk, looking at the back of the person in front.

If it sounds…



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