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Pakistan suspends flagship cricket tournament after COVID-19 cases among teams

Pakistan is suspending its flagship cricket tournament that started last month after seven team personnel tested positive for COVID-19, the cricket board said on Thursday (March 4).

Teams competing in the country’s highest profile sporting event, in which international players also participate, were all present in the southern city of Karachi, where matches were being played.

“It was a great disappointment for us that we have found ourselves in a situation where neither us, or others, are able to provide what we need to provide, and that is full protection for players. The health and well-being of all the players comes first and foremost, above anything else,” CEO of Pakistan Cricket Board Waseem Khan told a news conference in Karachi.

Khan said the decision to suspend the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6 with immediate effect was made following a meeting with the team owners. The decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition, which started on Feb. 20.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told Reuters that three international players were among the seven who tested positive.

Officials did not immediately give a resumption date.

Pakistan has so far recorded 585,435 cases of COVID-19 and over 13,000 deaths. The last two days have seen over 130 deaths, according to government data.

Pakistan imposed a lockdown only for a few weeks after the first COVID-19 case was detected in March last year, and has gradually lifted the few restrictions it had in place since then.

Authorities last week gave permission for the PSL tournament to increase crowd sizes from 20 percent to 50 percent stadium capacity.

(Production: Waseem Sattar/Salah Uddin/Sheree Sardar)


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