Six members of the Pakistan cricket team touring New Zealand have tested positive for Covid-19, throwing the five-match series into uncertainty.
A New Zealand government spokesman revealed that security video showed “several team members breaching isolation rules”.
Through strict quarantine measures and aggressive testing, New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of the virus. There are currently no restrictions on the public within the country.
The six who tested positive have been moved to a different floor of their isolation hotel in Christchurch and their 14-day quarantine period has begun again.
Even before the Pakistan team arrived in New Zealand, one batsman was ruled out at the last minute with a persistent fever. But he tested negative along with the rest of the squad.
Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Wasim Khan has been told by the New Zealand government that one more breach of New Zealand’s Covid-19 protocols by the Pakistan squad will result in the entire travelling party being deported, according to an ESPN report.
Khan sent a voice message to the team obtained by ESPN. He told them, “Boys, the New Zealand government have a zero-tolerance policy and they’ve given us a final warning. This is a matter of Pakistan’s respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you’ll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they’ll send us home.
“This is a matter of national pride. It would be very embarrassing if they end up sending us back. Do what’s right for your country.”
The tour’s opening match is scheduled for Dec 18 in Auckland.