Asia - Pacific, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

6 Pakistani cricketers contract virus in New Zealand

Country's key opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also tests positive for COVID-19

Islamuddin Sajid   | 26.11.2020
6 Pakistani cricketers contract virus in New Zealand

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Six members of Pakistan's cricket squad in Christchurch, New Zealand have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Thursday.

Two of the six results have been deemed “historical,” while four have been confirmed as new, New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.

The results are from tests conducted upon Pakistan's arrival in New Zealand on Nov. 24.

Pakistan are due to play three Twenty20 International matches on Dec. 18, 20, and 22, and two Tests between Dec. 26 and Jan.7.

Prior to leaving Lahore, all members of the touring squad returned negative results on the four occasions they were tested. Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman was left out for the tour as a precautionary measure since he showed virus symptoms.

In line with protocols governing the squad’s entry into New Zealand, the six members will be moved to the quarantine arm of the managed isolation facility. The team will not be able to train until investigations have been completed.

The press release also revealed that some members of the Pakistan team had “contravened protocols” on the first day of managed isolation. “We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements,” it said.

Opposition leader tests positive

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s key opposition leader and head of the Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also contracted the novel virus.

"I have tested positive for #COVID-19 & am self-isolating with mild symptoms," he tweeted.

With 3,306 new cases during the past 24 hours, the South Asian country's caseload has risen to 386,198, including 7,843 deaths.

The government has banned large public events and enhanced restrictions to stem the spread of the virus. All schools, shrines, and cinemas are closed.

A defiant opposition alliance, has, however, refused to postpone its planned rallies. Several huge public rallies have been held in major cities in recent weeks.

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