To continue its preparation for the Twenty20 and Test series against New Zealand, the Pakistan cricket squad has been allowed to leave controlled isolation.
On the 12th day of their 14-day stay in isolation, all members of the team screened negative and were allowed to fly to the South Island resort of Queenstown, where they will now practise as a group.
When players defied guidelines by mixing in corridors and exchanging meals, the team’s exemption from practising in smaller groups following the third day in isolation was removed by the New Zealand health authorities. On arrival, six members of the 53-strong squad tested positive for Covid-19 and two more subsequently tested positive and were transferred to their hotel’s quarantine wing.
Earlier, the Ministry of Health of New Zealand announced that 52 Pakistan squad members would be released from Christchurch’s quarantine facilities.
The ministry confirmed in a statement that One case will remain in the Christchurch quarantine facility until fully recovered.” “One individual tested negative repeatedly and is being released today from the Auckland quarantine facility, where they were transferred as a precaution on arrival.”
Upon arrival in New Zealand from Dubai, the individual was confirmed to have exhibited signs of Covid, but has since tested negative.
“The medical officer of health is satisfied that these individuals represent a very low risk to the community after extensive testing and completion of their time in managed isolation in Christchurch,” the ministry said.
With the caption “life and smiles after quarantine” Cricketer Shadab Khan posted a photo with his teammates on Twitter.
Head coach Misbahul Haq was earlier quoted as saying that during their time in exile, the players had suffered “mentally and physically.”
“Top professional athletes need to prepare for a certain environment so that each time they represent their countries, they can perform at the minimum expected levels,” Misbah said in a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
He said the health and safety regulations enforced in New Zealand to protect the population against Covid-19 are valued and understood by Pakistan’s players and officials.
New Zealand is currently leading a two-test series against West Indies, hosting Pakistan on Dec 18, 20 and 22 in three T20s ahead of a two-test series beginning on Dec 26.
The borders of New Zealand have been closed to all but returning New Zealand people and inhabitants, although in the case of the touring West Indies and Pakistan teams, exemptions have been permitted. New Zealand has seen just 25 Covid-19 casualties and actually has no incidents in the population.
There is no ignoring the fact that before an international series, the enforcement of such legislation impacted our athletes, both psychologically and physically,” Misbah said. I would like to thank my players and the management team for their courage, sacrifices and the struggles they have faced to ensure that during the Covid-19 pandemic they not only lead the stable resumption of international cricket, but also strive to give their utmost every time they walk on the field.