7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

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New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson speaks following six positive COVID-19 tests in Pakistan squad according to NZ Cricket, in this still frame taken from video. (TVNZ/Handout via REUTERS TV)
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An exterior view of a COVID-19 isolation quarantine facility at the DoubleTree by Hilton, in Christchurch, New Zealand in this still frame taken from video on Nov. 26, 2020. (TVNZ/Handout via REUTERS TV)
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Updated 28 November 2020

7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

  • Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan
  • Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A seventh member of the Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand has tested positive for COVID-19 and will join other infected teammates in quarantine.
Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan and began its compulsory 14-day stay in managed isolation. The seventh member tested positive Friday when players and officials again were tested on the third day of their isolation period.
Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period. The new infection was reported Saturday by New Zealand’s ministry of health in its daily update of COVID cases.
“One additional member of the Pakistan cricket squad has today tested positive during routine testing,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement. “The remainder of the results from the squad’s day 3 swab testing — apart from the six who have already returned a positive result — are negative.”
People who test positive while in isolation can be held beyond the usual 14-day period.
The Pakistan team has already received a final warning from the health ministry after players breached protocols on their first day in isolation. The ministry said closed-circuit television footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed squad members mingling in corridors and sharing food.
An exemption which would have allowed team members to train in small groups after their third day in isolation has been revoked. But will be reviewed later if no further breaches occur. Players and team management are required to stay in their rooms for the first three days of the isolation period.
New Zealand’s director general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said he took a “dim view” of the team’s failure to obey the regulations which had been clearly spelled out to team members on their arrival. Further breaches might lead to the team being expelled from New Zealand.
“Rather than being in their own rooms which is a requirement for that first three days, until that first test comes back, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks,” Bloomfield said.
A wider outbreak among squad members would also be a serious issue which might put the tour in jeopardy. Pakistan is due to play New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals and two test matches. The first T20 will take place on Dec. 18 and the tests are the main features of New Zealand’s domestic summer.
On Friday, the health ministry said the team’s conduct had “significantly improved” after the warning was issued.
“We thank members of the team for their co-operation with the case investigations following the announcement of positive cases within the team,” the Ministry said. “Co-operation and compliance are critical in ensuring New Zealand is kept safe from COVID-19.”


France’s Stephane Peterhansel wins Dakar Rally for 14th time

Updated 15 January 2021

France’s Stephane Peterhansel wins Dakar Rally for 14th time

  • Peterhansel, nicknamed ‘Mr Dakar’, has now won the car category eight times

JEDDAH: France’s Stephane Peterhansel on Friday won the Dakar Rally for the 14th time, 30 years after his initial success in the most gruelling event on motorsport’s calendar.
Peterhansel, nicknamed ‘Mr Dakar’, has now won the car category eight times, having also won the motorbike category six times.
The 55-year-old Mini driver, aided by co-pilot Edouard Boulanger, finished ahead of Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), with Spain’s Carlos Sainz rounding out the podium in another Mini.
Peterhansel’s victory came shortly after news that French motorcyclist Pierre Cherpin had died from his injuries after a fall, becoming the race’s first fatality this year.
Argentina’s Kevin Benavides won the motorbike category, leading home defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States in a first Honda 1-2 since 1987.
Briton Sam Sunderland, the 2017 champion, finished third.
Benavides, who broke his nose in a crash on the fifth stage that saw his helmet shattered, became the first South American to win the category, calling it “absolutely crazy.”
“I went at 110 percent, but now it’s true: I’ve won the Dakar — I’m so, so happy! I did some mistakes, for sure. I think it’s impossible to do a perfect Dakar,” he said.
“The important thing is to always continue, to stay calm and focused day by day and to work hard day by day.”
Brabec admitted to feeling “pretty bummed” at not defending his title, but added that “number two will work.”
“I didn’t even know that Honda had already won a one and two finish. I wasn’t even born in 1987! It’s cool to go one and two again.”