PSL matches in Karachi to be held in empty stadium from today

In this undated file photo, Pakistan Cricket Board staff are seen preparing the pitchh at the National Stadium in Karachi ahead of Pakistan Super League 2019. (AN photo)
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Updated 13 March 2020

PSL matches in Karachi to be held in empty stadium from today

  • 15 out of Pakistan's 20 coronavirus cases are reported in Sindh, 14 of them in Karachi alone
  • PCB says it will refund PSL tickets for the last four matches at the National Stadium

KARACHI: Authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province announced to hold the remaining matches of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in a closed cricket stadium in Karachi, the seaside metropolis where 14 out of 20 confirmed coronavirus cases have so far been reported.
“All the PSL matches in the National Stadium, except for Thursday (today), will be played without spectators,” a Sindh government’s handout quoted Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah as saying.
“It is risky to allow the spectators to gather in the stadium to witness the matches, and we cannot put everyone at risk. Therefore, the matches will be held without spectators.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board also confirmed the decision and said it would be enforced from Friday, March 13.
For the match played on Thursday, the PCB and the Sindh government have strongly advised the spectators to continue to take all necessary precautionary measures.
The decision will not impact accredited commercial partners, media and other service providers, who will be allowed to enter the National Stadium, the PCB clarified, adding: “In addition, immediate families of the competing players and player support personnel as well as franchise owners will be allowed to attend the matches.”
In the meantime, the PCB has advised all players to avoid shaking hands and urged the fans not to approach the players for autographs, photographs and selfies.
In addition to this, the PCB has decided that the two teams would not be required to shake hands with each other, and they could use a fist bump or verbal greeting instead.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “Health and safety is paramount and takes precedence over cricket. The PCB takes the health and safety of its players, spectators, officials, media, service providers and security personnel very seriously.
“Following the advisory from the government of Sindh this evening, the PCB has taken this precautionary and preemptive measure which will result in matches taking place in an empty stadium.
“We empathize with the Karachi fans who have been outstanding with their support in the earlier matches and during the hosting of eight HBLPSL matches last year. Once we received the advisory from the government of Sindh, it was important for us to act quickly to ensure that the well being of all concerned is better protected.
“With regards to the remaining fixtures in Lahore, we are already in contact with the Punjab government and will take on board its advisory in relation to the Lahore matches.
“With regard to the refunding of tickets, this will be in line with the ticketing policy and will be refunded through TCS and Details in this regard will be shared in due course,” he added.

FM Qureshi tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 03 July 2020

FM Qureshi tests positive for COVID-19

  • A number of high officials have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan
  • On Wednesday, Qureshi met with PM Imran Khan and US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19, days after holding high profile meetings, including one with the US special representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in Islamabad.

“This afternoon I felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined myself at home,” Qureshi said on Twitter. He said he felt healthy and would carry on his duties from home.

In the last few days, Qureshi has had contact with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament and in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Qureshi also met Khalilzad on Wednesday when the US special representative traveled to Pakistan to discuss progress on the Afghan peace process.

Pictures released from those meetings showed Qureshi and others wearing face masks.

Pakistan has reported 221,896 cases of the coronavirus and 4,551 deaths. The country has continued to see over 4,000 new cases on a daily basis, despite daily testing numbers falling.

A number of high officials have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan, including Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed and the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Asad Qaiser.