No danger of Windies tour being cancelled after COVID-19 breaches

Greg Stutchbury
·2-min read

By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Cricket West Indies see no danger of their tour of New Zealand being cancelled despite the team's training privileges being revoked after several players breached COVID-19 biosecurity protocols in their isolation facility.

Video footage from the facility in Christchurch showed some players had breached protocols by sharing food or socialising with team members outside their smaller biosecure bubbles, New Zealand's health ministry said on Wednesday.

There was no risk to the public, the ministry said, and the team are due to be released from the facility on Friday, pending a final round of COVID-19 testing that was undertaken on Wednesday, and relocate to Queenstown for warmup matches.

Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Johnny Grave said there had been no suggestion from the ministry that the tour could be cancelled, and health officials had said the sanctions only related to the team training in Christchurch.

They expected the rest of the squad to arrive from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday and go into isolation as planned.

"There was no mention of any change to the biosecure measures and protocols that will take place tomorrow when the players from the IPL land," Grave told reporters.

"We are expecting negative results from the entire touring party (currently in New Zealand) and they can be released on Friday and move to Queenstown."

New Zealand has successfully curbed the spread of the coronavirus after introducing a strict lockdown and tight border controls.

Almost all the country's small number of current cases are among people arriving from overseas, who are held in mandatory managed isolation facilities for 14 days.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the team had been granted special exemptions to train while in managed isolation.

"In return they have to stick to the rules," Bloomfield said. "They didn't do that."

Grave said the team would also conduct an investigation.

The first of three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand is on Nov. 27 in Auckland.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Richard Pullin)