Final warning has been issued by the New Zealand Health Department
The members of Pakistan squad, currently in New Zealand for upcoming T20I and Test series, were caught on camera while violating the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
According to sources, certain members of Pakistan squad, which is currently quarantined in Christchurch, were seen receiving food from hotel staff without wearing a mask while some interacted with other members of the squad — which was contrary to the SOPs in place due to the pandemic.
CCTV footage confirmed the aforementioned transgressions and consequently a warning letter was issued by the New Zealand Health Department to reiterate the country’s strict Covid-19 protocols.
The six Pakistan squad members who have tested positive for Covid-19 will undergo testing four times before getting clearance.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan also confirmed the development and urged the squad to religiously follow the SOPs.
“We have been informed by the New Zealand Cricket about three to four violations of SOPs, which is why we have asked the team to abide by the rules and regulations and make sure that such a thing does not happen in the future,” said Khan.
“The New Zealand Cricket has also said that the entire Pakistan squad will be sent back home if there are any other violations,” he added. “This will be very embarrassing for Pakistan cricket and we have no margin for error now.”
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the rule-breaking was being taken very seriously.
“It is a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport, but in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep Covid-19 out of our communities and keep our staff safe,” said Bloomfield.
Sources also revealed that the 54-member Pakistan squad flew to New Zealand on a commercial flight, which could be one of the reasons behind the positive Covid-19 result. It must be noted that the Men in Green went for England tour on a chartered flight, which significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus due to minimal interaction with general public.