Archer is understood to have returned to his home in Brighton on the journey between the Ageas Bowl near Southampton and Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on Monday. England had spent three weeks in Southampton.
Each individual in the camp was left to drive alone between the two venues, and given a list of “low risk” places to stop for petrol, to use the bathroom, or rest. No other stops or diversions were permitted, instructions ignored by Archer.
England had been at the Ageas Bowl, where they lost the First Test on Sunday by four wickets, for three weeks. Archer’s arrival in camp had originally been delayed “after a member of his household felt unwell”.
An ECB statement this morning said that “Archer will now commence five days of isolation and will undergo two COVID-19 tests in this period, which have to test negative before his self-isolation period is lifted” and that “The West Indies team have been made aware and are satisfied with the measures that have been imposed”.
Archer expressed contrition for his behaviour, which the ECB said constituted a “breach of the team’s bio-secure protocols”.
“I am extremely sorry for what I have done,” he said.
“I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.
“It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”
Archer’s indiscretion did not come to light until late on Wednesday, when senior figures gathered on a conference call to discuss it. Missing a Test match is set to be the extent of Archer’s punishment, although is also protocol: West Indies’ coach Phil Simmons had to spend five days in isolation after leaving the camp to attend a family funeral.
The upshot of the incident is that England were due to make four changes to their side between Tests – including swapping all three of their specialist pace bowlers.
Jimmy Anderson, at the ground with an end named after him, and Mark Wood had been omitted from the squad on Wednesday as part of a policy of rest and rotation, to be replaced by Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.
Sam Curran was set to come into the XI for Archer, with the uncapped Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson set to miss out.
England’s captain Joe Root comes straight back into the team for Joe Denly rather than Zak Crawley, who moves up to bat at No3.
Heavy overnight rain and mizzle in the morning led to the toss being delayed.