Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Six Pakistan cricketers test positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand

Published:Thursday | November 26, 2020 | 11:43 AM
In this Tuesday, September 1, 2020, file photo, Pakistan players celebrate their win in the third Twenty20 cricket match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Six members of the Pakistan cricket squad in New Zealand have tested positive Thursday, November 26, 2020, for COVID-19 and have been moved from managed isolation into quarantine. (AP Photo/Jon Super, Pool, File)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Six members of the Pakistan cricket squad in New Zealand have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been moved from managed isolation into quarantine.

Two of the cases were described as “historical” and four were new.

The Pakistan touring group, including 53 players and officials, was tested after arriving Tuesday.

All six positive cases were being moved to the quarantine arm of their isolation facility.

Cricket officials also said closed-circuit television footage showed some members of the Pakistan squad had contravened protocols on the first day of managed isolation.

“We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.

“NZC considers public health and safety to be paramount in the hosting of international teams and is supportive of the Ministry of Health and government position.”

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said the infractions of isolation rules occurred “despite clear, consistent and detailed communication of expected behaviours while in the facility.”

“The team as a whole has been issued with a final warning,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Pakistan team’s exemption to practice while in managed isolation will be withheld until an investigation has been completed.

All players were tested four times before their departure from Lahore to New Zealand and were negative on each occasion.

New Zealand Cricket said while the positive cases were disappointing, their early discovery showed New Zealand government protocols around touring teams are working.

As for the protocol breach, New Zealand Cricket said it will work more closely with the Pakistan squad to ensure it understands and complies with isolation rules.

No members of the public were endangered, it said.

New Zealand Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said breaches of managed isolation rules were taken very seriously.

“It is a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport,” he said. “But in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep COVID-19 out of our communities and keep our staff safe.”

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