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Pakistan team given "final warning" for biosecurity breaches after six test positive for Covid-19
Pakistan News

Pakistan team given "final warning" for biosecurity breaches after six test positive for Covid-19

Six members of Pakistan's touring party have tested positive for coronavirus while the team has received a "final warning" from the authorities for not respecting the biosecurity protocols.

As a result, New Zealand Cricket have decided to withdraw the Pakistan players' exemption to train whilst staying in an isolation facility in Christchurch. The health professionals have emphasised they are not willing to deal with this matter leniently in a country that has largely been able to eradicate the spread of the virus.

"It is a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport, but in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep Covid-19 out of our communities," said Ashley Bloomfield, director-general of health.

It is not yet clear whether the individuals who tested positive belong to the playing squad or the support personnel but the 53-man touring contingent had tested negative four times before departing for New Zealand on Monday morning.

Even before Pakistan flew, Fakhar Zaman was ruled out due to persistent fever despite testing negative a day earlier.

Out of the six tests that came back positive, NZC added that two of these were "historical" in nature whereas the remaining four were new cases of infection.

"While this is disappointing for the Pakistan squad, the testing outcomes and the actions taken show the government system is working," the board said.

Bloomfield also noted CCTV footage depicted some people from the tour party not following the social distancing rules in place.

"The team as a whole has been issued with a final warning," he said.

"It's important to note that all incidents of breaches occurred within the facility and there is no risk to the public."

A similar breach was done by the West Indies cricket team earlier this month, resulting in a severe reprimand from the New Zealand health authorities.

The island nation is one of the few regions of the world where community transmission of coronavirus has mostly ceased to exist.

All overseas arrivals are required to spend two weeks in quarantine, though NZC has arranged special arrangements for cricketers to train together.

This arrangement has been cancelled after health authorities stated several Pakistan players were "breaching managed isolation rules, despite clear, consistent and detailed communication of expected behaviours".

The tour is comprised of three T20Is and two Test matches but the recent developments could put the upcoming clashes in jeopardy in the event of more breaches.

NZC ensured they would have discussions with the tourists to reassert the importance of the quarantine conventions.

"Our focus is on keeping the rest of the squad and our staff safe," said air commodore Darryn Webb as New Zealand prepare to protect their robust procedures.

"For that reason, all other team members must remain in their rooms while investigations continue."