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6 Pakistan cricketers test positive for COVID-19 in NZ

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Six members of the Pakistan cricket squad in New Zealand have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been moved from managed isolation into quarantine.

Two of the cases are deemed historical and four are new but all six players will move to the quarantine arm of their isolation facility.

The Pakistan team’s exemption to train while in managed isolation will be withheld until an investigation has been completed. All players were tested four times before their departure from Lahore to New Zealand and were negative on each occasion.

New Zealand Cricket said while the positive cases were disappointing, their early discovery showed New Zealand government protocols around touring teams are working.

“Separately, NZC has also been made aware that some members of the Pakistan team had contravened protocols on the first day of managed isolation,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement. “We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements.

“NZC considers public health and safety to be paramount in the hosting of international teams and is supportive of the Ministry of Health and government position.”

The West Indies squad, which will begin a three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand on Friday, was also found to have breached protocols while in managed isolation earlier this month. Close circuit television footage showed players mixing in hotel corridors and sharing food, beaching the requirements of their internal bubbles.

The West Indies team was forced to cease training after the breaches were discovered.

Pakistan will play three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand, beginning on Dec. 18, and two test matches the first of which starts on Dec. 26.

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