Three more members of Pak squad in NZ test positive for COVID-19: PCB source

Karachi: Three more members of the 54-member Pakistan squad in New Zealand have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of infected cases to nine.

An official source in the Pakistan Cricket Board said the New Zealand health authorities confirmed that three people have returned positive while one result is pending.

“But the main thing is these three positive results are under investigation to find out whether they are historical cases or new infections, the source said.

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Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and pacer Muhammad Abbas are understood to be among the historical cases.

The source said earlier when six members tested positive, two turned out to be historical cases and they were allowed back to the team floor where they are in isolation while the remaining four are on a separate floor in quarantine.

It is determined that historical cases are not suspected of passing on infection to others as they have built up required anti-bodies but new cases are treated differently, he said.

The New Zealand health officials in an official release said that swabs were taken on Day 6 yesterday from the 46 members of the Pakistan cricket squad in Christchurch who until then have returned negative results for COVID-19.

Of those, 42 have subsequently returned a further negative test result. Three are under investigation to determine whether they are historical cases, and one test result is pending.

The visiting team is not allowed to train until the Canterbury DHB medical officer of health determines they are satisfied that any training activities are unlikely to transmit COVID-19.

Another source said that it will be known by Wednesday whether the three positive cases and one result pending are historical or not.

Six members had tested positive on November 24 when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan and began its compulsory 14-day stay in managed isolation. A few days later, a seventh member tested positive and joined the other infected teammates in quarantine.

Meanwhile, the PCB has taken serious note of the incidents relating to some members of the touring squad apparently trying to give an impression that their isolation or quarantine is akin to spending time in jail.

The Board is also not happy with the way the audio message of CEO Wasim Khan was immediately leaked out to some people in Pakistani media from New Zealand, a source said.

“The PCB is aware that some members of the squad in New Zealand are involved in spreading the impression through their contacts in Pakistani media that they are not being treated fairly and feel like they are in jail in New Zealand.

Wasim Khan had sent an audio message to members of the touring squad shortly after six members of the squad tested positive while few were found breaching the COVID-19 protocols set down by the New Zealand health authorities for the visiting players and officials.

In the audio message, Wasim had cautioned the players not to breach the health protocols again as it can have serious consequences on the outcome of the tour. He had also appreciated the sacrifices made by the players for the sake of cricket.

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