New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown strikes cricket, yachting | Instant News

Auckland’s community coronavirus outbreak has forced New Zealand’s cricket bosses to hastily reschedule two Twenty20 matches against Australia as other affected sports assess their options.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and epicenter, to lock itself down for seven days starting Sunday, requiring people to stay home except for essential shopping and work.

The rest of the country faces Tier Two restrictions that limit the size of public gatherings.

A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said the third match in the current T20 series, to be played in Wellington on Wednesday, would continue but without spectators.

The fourth game, scheduled for Auckland on Friday, has been moved to Wellington and, again, will be played behind closed doors.

Spokesmen said they would wait for government advice on whether spectator restrictions would be lifted before deciding whether there would be spectators at the final game of the series in Tauranga on Sunday, March 7.

Sport is not permitted below Level Three and Ardern’s swift decision means it is unlikely that the start of the Copa America final between holders New Zealand and Italian challenger Luna Rossa will resume on March 6.

“America’s Cup Event Ltd is reviewing the situation and will work closely with the Authorities and relevant agencies over the next few days to address the implications,” the tournament organizers said in a statement following news of the Auckland closure.

“More updates are coming.”

In Aotearoa’s Super Rugby, the Waikato Chiefs take on Otago Highlanders in Hamilton on Friday, while the Canterbury Crusaders host the Wellington Hurricanes on Saturday with both matches likely in empty stadiums.

The Auckland Blues celebrate victory over the Wellington Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday and then face the prospect of finding a new home for the short term.

Although they have a bye next week, coach Leon MacDonald said if they returned to Auckland they would not be allowed to train.

cf / qan / oho / mtp

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