New Zealand health officials refused to lift a ban on Pakistan’s coronavirus-hit cricket team training during the quarantine. The health officials said on Friday after the touring party’s number of infections climbed to 10.
The team was confined to their rooms when the first cases emerged last week. However, it had hoped to resume training before finishing its stint in isolation on Tuesday.
However, health chiefs said the risk of further infections was too great.
Ten people among the 53-member tour party have tested positive for Covid-19 while completing two weeks of isolation in Christchurch.
“I have very carefully considered this situation,” director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement. “At this time, I continue to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad.”
Pakistan’s cricketers will have only 10 days or less to prepare for their first tour match. The team is playing a Twenty20 international in Auckland on December 18.
Bloomfield said the decision was prompted by the number of active cases detected among the squad.
“Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to Covid-19, whether this involves individuals or teams,” he said. “We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team.”
The tourists arrived in New Zealand on November 24 and are scheduled to play three T20s and two Tests.
Bloomfield issued the team with a “final warning” last week for flouting social distancing protocols at their hotel.
Coronavirus-hit Pakistan cricket team
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, earlier, said the Pakistan cricket team’s behavior in their bio-secure facility in Christchurch had “significantly improved”.
News of the positive tests and the restrictions on the team sparked an angry response from Shoaib Akhtar. The former Pakistan fast bowler said New Zealand officials had treated them like a club team.
New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of coronavirus, recording just 1,713 cases and 25 deaths in a population of five million.
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