Pakistan team released from managed isolation in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) – The Pakistan cricket squad has been allowed to leave managed isolation to begin its preparation for Twenty20 and test series against New Zealand.

All members of the squad tested negative on the 12th day of their 14-day stay in isolation and will be allowed to travel to the South Island resort of Queenstown, where they can now train as a group.

The team’s exemption to train in smaller groups after the third day in isolation was revoked by New Zealand health authorities when players breached protocols by mingling in corridors and sharing food. Six members of the 53-strong squad tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival and two more subsequently returned positive tests and were moved to the quarantine wing of their hotel.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health reported 52 members of the Pakistan squad will be released from the quarantine facilities in Christchurch yesterday.

“One case will remain in the Christchurch quarantine facility until fully recovered,” the ministry said in a statement. “One person repeatedly tested negative and is being released from the Auckland quarantine facility today, where they had been transferred on arrival as a precaution.”

File photo shows Pakistan players celebrating their win in the third Twenty20 cricket match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. PHOTO: AP

That person is reported to have shown symptoms of COVID after arriving in New Zealand from Dubai but has since tested negative.

“After extensive testing and completion of their time in managed isolation in Christchurch, the… medical officer of health is satisfied these people pose a very low risk to the community,” the ministry said.

Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq earlier was quoted as saying his Pakistan players had suffered “mentally and physically” during their time in isolation.

“Top professional athletes require a certain environment to prepare so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels every time they represent their countries,” Misbah said in a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board.