Uproar after Pakistan records fresh COVID-19 cases in New Zealand

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Pakistan players, pictured here celebrating during an ODI against Zimbabwe in November.
Pakistan players celebrate during an ODI against Zimbabwe in November. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan’s cricket tour of New Zealand is in fresh turmoil after three more members of their touring party tested positive for COVID-19.

There are fresh calls from angry fans to send Pakistan home, with 10 members of a 53-man touring party returning positive tests.

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In a significant setback to Pakistan’s hopes of a competitive series against the Black Caps, the latest cases mean 10 have now tested positive for coronavirus since arriving in New Zealand last month.

Pakistan’s players and staff are completing a fortnight in isolation, as is compulsory on arrival in New Zealand, in a Christchurch hotel.

The COVID-19 cases mean none of the group have received permission to leave their hotel to train.

The touring party has also earned rebukes from health officials for breaching NZ’s strict quarantine rules by mingling in their hotels.

On Monday, the 46 members of the squad to have previously tested negative to COVID-19 were re-tested.

Health authorities said 42 returned another negative test result but three were under investigation “to determine whether they are historical cases” - and therefore not infectious - and one result was pending.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman clarified the three had returned positive PCR tests.

Pakistan on final warning after breaching protocols

The Pakistan team has already received a final warning from the health ministry after players breached protocols on their first day in isolation.

The ministry said closed-circuit television footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed squad members mingling in corridors and sharing food.

An exemption which would have allowed team members to train in small groups after their third day in isolation has since been revoked.

But will be reviewed later if no further breaches occur. Players and team management are required to stay in their rooms for the first three days of the isolation period.

New Zealand’s director general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said he took a “dim view” of the team’s failure to obey the regulations which had been clearly spelled out to team members on their arrival.

Further breaches might lead to the team being expelled from New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern, pictured here speaking to the media in Auckland.
Pakistan are on their final warning from the New Zealand government. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

“Rather than being in their own rooms which is a requirement for that first three days, until that first test comes back, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks,” Bloomfield said.

A wider outbreak among squad members would also be a serious issue which might put the tour in jeopardy.

Pakistan is due to play New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals and two Test matches.

The first T20 will take place on December 18 and the Tests are the main features of New Zealand’s domestic summer.

On Friday, the health ministry said the team’s conduct had “significantly improved” after the warning was issued.

“We thank members of the team for their co-operation with the case investigations following the announcement of positive cases within the team,” the Ministry said.

“Co-operation and compliance are critical in ensuring New Zealand is kept safe from COVID-19.”

However fans are still seething around the world, with many calling for New Zealand to send Pakistan home.

with agencies

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