Covid: Pakistan cricket squad quarantined after positive tests in New Zealand

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The Pakistani team arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday

Six members of Pakistan's cricket team have tested positive for Covid-19 while on tour in New Zealand.

All six have been moved from managed isolation into quarantine and the team's exemption from social-distancing rules for training has been suspended.

Health officials said all 53 members of the visiting squad were tested on arrival in the country.

New Zealand, widely praised for its pandemic response, had previously seen a total of 2,040 cases and 25 deaths.

It implemented a stringent but brief lockdown at the start of the crisis, along with targeted testing and successful surveillance. The country reported its most recent case of transmission within its borders on 18 November.

Pakistan meanwhile has seen 356,198 confirmed cases and 7,843 deaths.

New Zealand's cricket authorities said two of the six cases were "historical" and the other four were new. Historical can refer to a positive test returned some time after a person has recovered.

Some members of the Pakistan team had contravened protocols on their first day in managed isolation in Christchurch and would be reminded of their responsibilities, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said.

A health ministry spokeswoman told that several members of the Pakistan team had been seen on CCTV breaking the rules and the team was now on its "final warning". The rules had been broken despite "clear, consistent and detailed communication of expected behaviour", the spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

All members of the Pakistan squad had earlier tested negative four times before leaving the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The outcome was "disappointing for the Pakistan squad" but the "testing outcomes and the actions taken show the government system is working", NZC said.

Earlier this month the West Indies cricket squad - who are also in New Zealand - were also briefly banned from training and confined to their hotel rooms after CCTV showed them sharing meals and mingling together in breach of managed isolation guidelines.

The Pakistan team is scheduled to play two Test matches and three T20 matches while in New Zealand.

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