Another Pakistan cricket team member in New Zealand has tested positive for Covid-19, taking the tally of infected individuals to seven.
Six members of the squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team landed in New Zealand from Pakistan and began its mandatory 14-day stay in managed isolation. The seventh member returned positive result when players and officials again were tested on the third day of their isolation period.
The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to send Shaheens squad to New Zealand in an economy class flight rather than business could be the reason why the national contingent is hit by Covid-19 despite them clearing multiple tests in Pakistan, Daily Express reported on Saturday.
Seven members of the touring party have so far tested positive in the opening round of tests conducted in New Zealand. That coupled with their Covid-19 protocol violations have invited intense criticism from New Zealand authorities and become a source of embarrassment back home.
The Urdu publication, citing its sources, stated that the Pakistan Cricket Board and New Zealand authorities have been trying to solve the mystery of quite how the players were found infected when they were dispatched from Pakistan virus-free.
The most viable theory is that the PCB had split up the seniors and Shaheens squads into two: sending the former on the far more expensive business class and the latter in self-explanatory economy class – possibly in a bid to save up money.
The paper’s theory further states that while the plane’s business class was reserved for cricketers only, the Shaheens travelled with general public. Hence, they could have caught the virus there, before transmitting the same to the members of the seniors squad when reunited at airport lounge.
It is pertinent to mention that the PCB has sent to New Zealand a giant 34-man playing squad, which comprises the seniors and Shaheens but their players would remain interchangeable for each other.
The authorities in New Zealand have started to ease some restrictions on the Pakistan Cricket squad that is currently in a managed isolation facility in Christchurch.
A team source confirmed that following a discussion between board officials and two negative tests of 47 members of the squad, some exemptions were granted to the players and officials.
“Those who have returned with two negative COVID-19 test results since arrival in New Zealand are now allowed to have a walk in an adjacent ground during the allocated time to their group,” the source said.