In a major blow to the Pakistan cricket team, the New Zealand Health Ministry on Friday refused to give permission to the touring team to leave their hotel to train in groups while completing their time in managed isolation in Christchurch.
"Following careful consideration, the Director-General of Health has today confirmed that he will not be granting the exemption which would allow the Pakistan men's cricket team to leave their hotel to train in groups while completing their time in managed isolation in Christchurch," the New Zealand Health Ministry said in a statement.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he has 'very carefully' considered the situation and have concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad.
"I have very carefully considered this situation. At this time, I continue to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad," Bloomfield said in a statement.
"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. We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team," he added.
On Wednesday, the New Zealand Health Ministry had confirmed that one more member of the Pakistan cricket squad tested positive for coronavirus which had taken the total cases in the touring team to eight.
The New Zealand Health Ministry, in another release, on Friday said that "laboratories are processing the Pakistan team's day 9 swabs, which were taken yesterday. Full results are pending."
Pakistan are slated to play three T20Is on December 18, 20, and 22, and the ICC World Test Championship fixtures will be held in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch on December 26-30 and January 3-7, respectively.