The Pakistan cricket team is in New Zealand for a tour starting on December 18 with a 3-match T20I series and a 2-match Test series, ending on January 7. The 34-member touring squad, excluding Fakhar Zaman, arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday, November 24. The players were accompanied by 20 officials and all 54 members were to be in a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the Hilton Hotel.

The squad's first round of coronavirus tests were completed on November 25 and, as a result, six Pakistan cricketers have tested positive for the virus. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board, on Thursday, confirmed the news and added that 2 out of the 6 positive results was deemed "historical". Ahead of Pakistan team’s departure, all 54 members had returned negative results 4 times.

Consequently, the 6 members who have returned positive results are being sent to the quarantine division of the regulated isolation facility in Christchurch.

"While this is disappointing for the Pakistan squad, the testing outcomes and the actions taken show the Government system is working," NZC said in a statement.

"We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements. NZC considers public health and safety to be paramount in the hosting of international teams, and is supportive of the Ministry of Health and Government position."

According to the original rules that were in place, the visiting squad was to undergo 3 coronavirus tests during the 14-day quarantine period. Had the first round of coronavirus test reports returned negative results, the whole 34-member Pakistan squad would’ve been divided into groups and each group would’ve been allowed to take outdoor training in a biosecure environment for the first 3 days after the isolation period.

A country like New Zealand where the virus has been largely contained, these 6 new cases have come like an outbreak. The New Zealand health ministry has now directed that the players will "be tested a minimum of four times while in managed isolation" and all squad members would be confined to their designated rooms.

This action was justified after "several team members have been seen on CCTV at the facility breaching managed isolation rules, despite clear, consistent and detailed communication of expected behaviours".

"The team as a whole has been issued with a final warning. 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 top health official Ashley Bloomfield.

Meanwhile, the series between New Zealand and West Indies starts on November 27 to kick start the nation’s home summer.

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