New Zealand maintains Pakistan cricket training ban as coronavirus cases rise

Pakistan's cricket players photographed at airport before leaving for New Zealand on November 23, 2020. (Photo Courtesy: PCB)
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Updated 04 December 2020

New Zealand maintains Pakistan cricket training ban as coronavirus cases rise

  • Ten people among the 53-member tour party have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing two weeks of isolation in Christchurch
  • Team members were confined to their rooms when the first cases emerged last week but had hoped to resume training before finishing their stint in isolation

Wellington: New Zealand health officials refused to lift a ban on Pakistan’s coronavirus-hit cricket team training during quarantine on Friday after the touring party’s number of infections climbed to 10.
The team were confined to their rooms when the first cases emerged last week but had hoped to resume training before finishing their stint in isolation on Tuesday.
However, health chiefs said the risk of further infections was too great. Ten people among the 53-member tour party have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing two weeks of isolation in Christchurch.
“I have very carefully considered this situation,” director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement.
“At this time, I continue to have ongoing concerns about the risk of cross-infection within the squad.”
The decision means that Pakistan’s cricketers will have only 10 days to prepare for their first tour match, a Twenty20 international in Auckland on December 18, and probably less when travel is factored in.
Bloomfield said the decision was prompted by the number of active cases detected among the squad.
“Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to COVID-19, whether this involves individuals or teams,” he said.
“We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team.”
Bloomfield issued the team with a “final warning” last week for flouting social distancing protocols at their hotel and no further breaches have been reported since.
The tourists arrived in New Zealand on November 24 and are scheduled to play three T20s and two Tests.
New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of coronavirus, recording just 1,713 cases and 25 deaths in a population of five million.


Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

Updated 15 January 2021

Pakistan’s national flag carrier to bring back impounded plane by approaching Malaysian court

  • A Pakistan International Airlines plane was ‘held back’ by Malaysian authorities after a local court issued a verdict against the airlines in a payment dispute
  • The national flag career called the situation ‘unacceptable,’ announced to send its legal team to the court to present its case

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines announced on Friday its legal team would approach a court in Malaysia that ordered to impound one of its planes that was scheduled to fly out of Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day and bring back passengers to Pakistan. 

“PIA was facing a payment dispute with another company and the matter was being heard by a court in the United Kingdom for the last six months,” said the airlines spokesman, Abdullah Khan, in a video message. “The same company also took a stay order against us in another country [Malaysia] and a local court issued an ex-party decision against the airlines without serving it a notice or hearing its stance.” 

Khan added that the PIA legal team would pursue the matter with Pakistan's official and diplomatic assistance. 

“It is important to mention here that this incident was timed to somewhat mitigate our response since it happened ahead of the weekend,” he maintained. “However, our legal team will take up the matter in the Malaysian court immediately after the weekend and we are hopeful to resolve this issue as soon as possible.” 

Pakistan’s foreign office also issued a statement on Friday, saying its diplomatic mission in Malaysia was in close contact with relevant authorities over the detained plane and its stranded passengers. 

“The passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have also been finalized,” the foreign office spokesperson, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said while responding to a media query. 

“They will be departing Kuala Lumpur by EK 343 later tonight,” he added. 

The PIA plane was held back by Malaysian authorities over a British court case, PIA said in an earlier statement, adding it would pursue the matter through diplomatic channels. 

“A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court,” a PIA spokesman said in a statement. 

The national carrier’s statement said the situation was “unacceptable” and that it had asked for support from Pakistan’s government to raise the matter diplomatically. Malaysian authorities did not immediately respond to request for comment.