Seven more Pakistan cricketers on Tuesday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, taking the total count to ten ahead of their England tour. After Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan's tests returned positive for the deadly virus, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday confirmed that seven more players - Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hasnain, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan - have contracted the disease. Besides the seven cricketers, a player support personnel has also tested positive.
PCB had conducted a total of 35 tests on Monday in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said in a statement released by PCB, “The recent positive tests of some of the fittest athletes, who had not shown any symptoms, clearly reflect the danger this virus possesses. As such, and on behalf of the PCB, I once again request the public to strictly adhere to all safety precautions as advised and recommended by the federal and provincial governments to ensure their health and safety as well as of their dear and near ones.
“As regards the players, who have tested positive, we will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative, they will be flown to join the squad in England. At the moment, they have been advised to go into self-isolation so that they not only recover quickly but also prevent their other family members from being infected.
PCB also described the steps for the England tour from here on. The players and player support personnel, who have tested negative, will assemble in Lahore on June 24 where the second round of testing will be conducted the following day. The members who will test negative will depart for Manchester in a chartered flight where they will be tested once again by ECB's medical team upon arrival. On testing negative, the players and the support staff will serve a mandatory 14-day quarantine period although they will be allowed to train and practice in a bio-secure environment.
For the ten players and the one support staff who have tested positive, they will be kept under strict observation by PCB and be in self-isolation at their homes. On completing the quarantine period, they will have two tests in Pakistan before leaving for England and one in Manchester. The players will be given a go-ahead only on testing negative thrice.
The seven players have been asked to go into self-isolation and the PCB medical staff is in contact with the trio.
The Pakistan cricket squad will leave for England on June 28 to play three Tests and three T20Is. They will be quarantined in Derbyshire for a mandatory period of 14 days, although they will be allowed to practice.
The board picked a total of 29 players for the tour so that replacements are readily available in case a player falls ill or tests positive.
Pakistan cricketers have not played any competitive cricket since March 17 when PSL was suspended owing to the coronavirus pandemic.