Eighth member of Pakistan cricket team tests positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand

The positive result was confirmed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health in its daily bulletin on COVID-19 pandemic. The eighth member will now join the seven previously infected Pakistani players in quarantine.

December 02, 2020 11:58 am | Updated 11:58 am IST - Wellington

New Zealand government on Wednesday said that another member of the visiting Pakistan cricket team has tested positive for coronavirus , taking the total number of confirmed cases to eight.

The positive result was confirmed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health in its daily bulletin on COVID-19 pandemic. The eighth member will now join the seven previously infected Pakistani players in quarantine.

“There is one new case of COVID-19 to report in managed isolation in New Zealand today. There are no new community cases.

“This person is a member of Pakistan cricket squad and was one of the three cases reported as under investigation yesterday. They have now been confirmed to have an active COVID-19 infection. The two other cases remain under investigation,” the Ministry of Health said in the bulletin.

However, sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board had earlier claimed that three more members of the 54-member Pakistan squad in New Zealand have tested positive for COVID-19.

“But the main thing is these three positive results are under investigation to find out whether they are historical cases or new infections,” the PCB source had said.

Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and pacer Muhammad Abbas were understood to be among the historical cases.

The first six cases involving members of the Pakistan squad were detected on the team’s first day in New Zealand last week and the seventh shortly afterwards.

Since then the Pakistani players and team officials were being tested on every third and sixth days of their 14-day isolation period.

The visitors were denied permission to practice from the third day of their isolation period when some players breached COVID-19 protocols on their first day in Christchurch.

The Pakistan squad was also issued a final warning, following which New Zealand’s Ministry of Health had said that the team’s conduct had significantly improved.

The visiting team is barred from training until the Canterbury DHB medical officer of health gives a go ahead, stating they are satisfied that any training activities are unlikely to transmit COVID-19.

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani has, however, ruled out any danger to the tour despite reporting several confirmed positive cases in the visiting side and earlier breaches of New Zealand’s COVID-19 protocols.

“Yes, there have been a few minor breaches as soon as the team reached hotel and were perhaps still unsure about the COVID-19 protocols and were asking questions. But they have now been advised to be careful to adhere to the protocols of New Zealand government,” he told Dawn news channel.

“Whatever has happened there, the series will not be affected and will go ahead on schedule. Yes we would like our players to get permission to start training soon so that they don’t go into the T20 series short on preparation or acclimatisation,” Mani said.

Mani said the PCB is constantly in touch with New Zealand cricket authorities and having discussions on allowing cricketers with negative COVID-19 results to start net practice.

Pakistan is touring New Zealand for three T20 Internationals and two Test matches.

The series begins with three T20Is from December 18, followed by the Test matches starting December 26.

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