Friday Dec 04, 2020
Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand has once again been denied the permission to train by the local health authorities - much to the frustration of the players who have been stuck within the confines of their hotel ever since their arrival in the country 10 days ago.
The touring party were expected to be allowed to train before their mandatory 14 day of isolation ends, and it was hoped that the exemption would be secured on Friday but it wasn't to be.
A statement by the New Zealand health department said on Friday that following careful consideration, the director-general of health confirmed that he will not be granting the exemption, which would have allowed the Pakistan team to leave their hotel to train in groups while completing their time in managed isolation in Christchurch.
The Pakistani contingent were originally supposed to get the exemption after day 3 of testing, however, it was put on hold after reports of SOP breaches and positive test results of 6 members came to light.
The New Zealand health authorities have repeatedly termed the exemption to train during managed isolation period "a privilege".
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the DG health, while commenting on the decision, said that at this time, he continues to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infections within the squad.
“There have been a number of active cases identified among the team. Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to Covid-19, whether this involves individuals or teams,” he said.
“We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team."
Of the 54-member Pakistani contingent in New Zealand, 44 have cleared their fourth straight test, according to a source privy to the matter, although the results were yet to be made official by the authorities at the time this report was published.
The team's 14-day isolation is scheduled to end on December 8, which will give them 10 days to prepare for the first T20I on December 18.