One more member of the Pakistan cricket team has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday, taking the tally of infections within the touring party to seven. Six of the 53 members of the group had tested positive for the novel coronavirus upon their arrival in New Zealand, while there was also evidence there had been breaches of bio-security rules.
“One additional member of the Pakistan squad has today tested positive during routine testing. The remainder of the results from the squad’s Day 3 swab testing — apart from the six who have already returned a positive result, is negative,” the ministry said.
The team had initially been given an exemption to train together in managed isolation but that had been temporarily revoked and will remain on hold pending consideration by health officials, which is expected to take until next week, the ministry added.
Pakistan is due to play three Twenty20 internationals and two Tests from December 18, while a Pakistan ‘A’ tour will also be held concurrently.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman rules out danger to tour
A day earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani said he respected the concerns raised by the New Zealand government but hoped no major danger loomed over the tour. Speaking to reporters, he said: “We respect NZC [New Zealand Cricket] and their government’s concern after six of our players tested positive.
“Separately, there were a few minor breaches immediately upon the side’s arrival in New Zealand, which have been made public without providing any context. “Despite these, I don’t think there in any danger to the series as our players are strictly following the isolation facility’s protocols,” he said.
He added that the breaches mentioned by the New Zealand cricket board and health authorities happened when the players were checking in to the isolation facility. During that period, they interacted with each other, he said. “It was a 22-hour journey and players deserved a bit of grace period. Nevertheless, breaches have taken place and there is no hiding behind any excuses.”
He added that the PCB was in discussions with NZC about allowing the remaining cricketers to resume match preparation and get on the field. “With regards to the positive test results of six players, the PCB had shared the outcomes of all the tests conducted by one of the most reputed and credible laboratories with the New Zealand government and they were satisfied.
“It now needs to be examined and investigated how they could have contracted the virus but it is anticipated and understood that this happened somewhere between Lahore and the isolation facility. We are also investigating which players were infected first and how it was transmitted to others,” he said.