The Pakistan Cricket team has been cleared to leave managed isolation in Christchurch after the whole squad tested negative for coronavirus during the fifth round of testing on Sunday.
The team can now start training following a final approval from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.
Pakistan are scheduled to fly to Queenstown for their training and intra-squad warm-up games before the start of the T20I series against the hosts on December 18.
“The member of the Pakistan Cricket squad who tested positive on day six will remain in managed isolation until departing – negative tests permitting. Additionally, the member of the squad who was taken into quarantine in Auckland after arriving from Dubai feeling unwell – but subsequently testing negative – has also been cleared to leave the facility,” New Zealand Cricket stated.
The Pakistan Cricket team was originally scheduled to start training from December 5 but had to undergo extended isolation after at least six squad members returned positive results for COVID-19.
The team, as a whole, was also handed a ‘final warning’ by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health for breaching quarantine protocols.
Pakistan Head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq recently expressed concerns over the mental and physical toll these events were having on the players.
In an official PCB release, the former Pakistan skipper also lauded his players for making sacrifices for the resumption of international cricket during the pandemic. He said:
“I want to compliment my players and the management team for their patience, sacrifices and the hardships they have endured to ensure they not only lead the safe resumption of international cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic since the series in England, but also try to give their best every time they step on the field.”
“While we completely respect and understand the New Zealand Government Laws which have been put in place for the health and safety of their public, there is no denying the fact that the implementation of certain regulations has affected our athletes, both mentally and physically prior to an international series.”
The three-match T20I series between New Zealand and Pakistan will be followed by two Tests, starting with the Boxing Day Test at the scenic Mount Maunganui.
New Zealand v Pakistan, 2020 – Schedule