Was PCB negligent in COVID testing after more cases arise in New Zealand?

In the last 48 hours, New Zealand has reported a total of 10 new cases of coronavirus in the country. One third of them has been due to the Pakistan cricket team, who are currently in isolation in their facility in Christchurch. After New Zealand’s director of health issued a ‘final warning’ to the Pakistan cricket team, three more members of the side have tested positive for the coronavirus. This has not only put Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in serious jeopardy, but it has also raised questions on whether the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) indulged in negligence while testing the players in Lahore before their departure.

According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not carry out the same processes which they had done for the England tour. Before that tour in August, Pakistan Cricket Board carried out two tests, the normal COVID test and the anti-body test. Pakistan players had to test negative twice and they were put in a hotel for seven days.

In the case of the New Zealand series, players had to undergo only one test and they were kept together in the hotel for just two days. This comes at a time when there is a big spike in coronavirus cases even in Pakistan, with almost 3000 cases in the last 24 hours.

Different policies

The difference in the policies for England and New Zealand is something that the Pakistan Cricket Board has to answer as questions are being raised on whether they were negligent. The question of historic infections seems to be plaguing Pakistan cricket and it has raised a question on testing, with the PCB not carrying out the testing themselves but outsourcing it to certified laboratories.

In November, the New Zealand government came down hard on the Pakistan team following a spurt of COVID cases within the camp. According to a report, if the Pakistan cricket team commits one more breach of COVID isolation breach, the entire squad could be deported. Following the incident, the Pakistan cricket team’s training rights have been revoked.

In a report on ESPNCricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan has apparently given the message to the Pakistan cricket team that they face potential deportation. “Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols. They have a zero-tolerance policy and they’ve given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England. It’s not easy. But this is a matter of the nation’s respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you’ll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they’ll send us home,” Wasim Khan said on a Whatsapp voice message which was accessed by ESPNCricinfo.

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