Latin America

Coronavirus: English cricket coach in Argentina lockdown

Sian Kelly with boyfriend

Sian Kelly with boyfriendImage copyright
Sian Kelly

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Sian Kelly moved to Argentina in 2016 and coaches the country’s women’s cricket team

A British cricket coach living in lockdown in Argentina has said she is worried she will not be able to return home in an emergency.

Sian Kelly, head coach of the Argentine women’s team, is not permitted to go beyond her nearest supermarket in Buenos Aires for supplies.

She said her partner had nearly been arrested amid the country’s strict lockdown rules.

About 25% of the world’s population is living in lockdown.

Ms Kelly moved to Buenos Aires from Solihull in 2016, aged 20, initially for a year abroad as part of a Spanish degree, but has stayed in South America to help develop women’s cricket in the country.

Argentina has been on lockdown since 20 March – and recently extended it until 12 April – with no outdoor exercise allowed and police permitted to arrest people for breaching quarantine rules.

“My boyfriend went just out of our area to buy some items he couldn’t get at our nearest shop and was stopped by police and nearly arrested,” Ms Kelly said.

She has been living with him and his family through the lockdown and does not know when she will next be able to return home.

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Sian Kelly

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Ms Kelly worries about being far from her family in the West Midlands

She had hoped to return for the English summer but now fears that will now not be possible.

“If my family started to get ill now I wouldn’t be able to go home – that’s difficult to swallow – but at the same time there are people in worse situations than me,” she said.

“It’s easier being out here if you know when your next home date is.”

The virus has led to Ms Kelly losing all her cricket work, with Argentina’s scheduled five-match series against Brazil in April cancelled.

She is using her language skills to earn money teaching people Spanish online, something she is “very grateful” to be able to fall back on, while also keeping an eye on the situation back home.

“Looking at the way England is dealing with it from the outside, it’s frustrating,” she said.

“You almost want to shout at people saying go home – on social media I saw people still having barbecues together.”

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Sian Kelly

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Lockdown rules in Argentina are so strict Ms Kelly’s boyfriend was almost arrested visiting the supermarket

In Argentina too there have been “thousands of arrests for flouting rules,” she said.

“Lots of people went to the coast for our bank holiday, after lockdown, and they weren’t allowed back into the city.”

Although the rules are strict, Ms Kelly says Argentina appeared to have “dealt really well” with the pandemic – “completely flipping the stereotype” of the country.

According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, Argentina has had 1,265 coronavirus cases and 37 deaths from the disease.

“The government knows the health service here wouldn’t be able to deal with coronavirus on a large scale, so they’ve been strict.”

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