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Covid-19 rocks Pakistan cricket, after seven players test positive

Coronavirus pandemic rocked Pakistan cricket once again, after the country’s cricketing board on Tuesday confirmed that a further seven players and a player support personnel from a total of 35 have tested positive for Covid-19.

This comes following the announcement yesterday that three players had tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total tally of infected players to 10.

Players who have tested positive are; Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz.

Meanwhile, players who have tested negative are; Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, and Yasir Shah.

The Player Support Personnel, who has tested positive, is Malang Ali (masseur).

Shoaib Malik, Cliffe Deacon, and Waqar Younis, have not tested to date.

The PCB had organised these 35 tests in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar on Monday. On Monday, Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari had tested negative, while the results of Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan were positive.

Like Haider, Haris, and Shadab none of the seven players and masseur had reported any prior symptoms of Covid-19 until they underwent first round of testing on Monday ahead of the side’s departure for Manchester.

The PCB informed that the medical panel is already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families’ wellbeing.

Next steps are:

  • The players and player support personnel, who have tested negative, will assemble in a bio-secure environment in Lahore on 24 June and will undergo second round of testing on 25 June
  • The players and player support personnel, who will test negative on 25 June, will depart for Manchester on a chartered flight. Within 24 after hours after arriving in the UK, they will be tested by the ECB medical panel
  • The players and player support personnel, who will test negative upon arrival in the UK, will observe a quarantine period as per the UK government’s regulations, but will be allowed to train and practice in a bio-secure facility
  • The players and player support personnel, who have tested positive in pre-departure testing, will observe self-isolation in their homes and remain under strict monitoring of the PCB medical panel
  • As soon as they will complete their minimum quarantine period, they will undergo further testing and after their two tests are negative, they will be flown to England on a commercial airline
  • Upon arrival in the UK, they will be tested again by the ECB medical panel and will be allowed to integrate with the Pakistan men’s national squad after they test negative
  • According to series SOPs, the Pakistan men’s national cricket team will undergo, at least, five tests in the lead up to the first test

“The recent positive tests of some of the fittest athletes, who had not shown any symptoms, clearly reflect the danger this virus possesses. As such, and on behalf of the PCB, I once again request the public to strictly adhere to all safety precautions as advised and recommended by the federal and provincial governments to ensure their health and safety as well as of their dear and near ones,” said PCB Chief Executive Wasim.

“As regards the players, who have tested positive, we will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative, they will be flown to join the squad in England. At the moment, they have been advised to go into self-isolation so that they not only recover quickly but also prevent their other family members from being infected.

“The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule on 28 June. Fortunately, all the first-choice red-ball  squad, barring Mohammad Rizwan, are negative, which means they can start training and practicing immediately  after they have been tested and given the all clear when they arrive in England

“In the meantime, Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing the training schedule in England and is firming up plans for reserve players to be tested as a backup.”

The upcoming series of Pakistan agaisnt Egland would be played in a bio-secure environment, which the ECB medical panel will put in place for the Pakistan men’s national cricket team during the tour of England under which the following measures would take place:

  • Daily monitoring of temperature and symptoms for all
  • Regular Covid-19 testing for everyone within the bio-secure environment (on average every seven days)
  • Only essential staff are present, including hotel personnel
  • The bio-secure environment will be ‘zoned’ so individuals will only operate within a restricted area essential to their duties
  • Social distancing and regular hand hygiene is key for all
  • Face masks or coverings should be worn by all
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