WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The West Indies cricket squad has been stripped of the right to train while in managed isolation after players were found to have violated regulations surrounding their 14-day quarantine.
New Zealand’s Health Ministry said CCTV footage from the team’s hotel in Christchurch showed players mingling in hallways and sharing food in violation of managed isolation regulations. The ministry said all the incidents took place inside the hotel and there was no danger to the public.
West Indies forces, which have completed 12 of the 14 days of isolation scheduled under COVID-19 regulations, will not be able to train again until the fully managed isolation period has been completed. The isolation period may be extended if there are further concerns, the ministry said.
Evidence of infringement has been provided to West Indies Cricket, which has been encouraged to carry out its own investigations and impose disciplinary sanctions it deems necessary.
The players will undergo Wednesday’s tests for the second time since their arrival in New Zealand. If the test results negative, the team can be allowed to leave isolation on Friday and travel to Queenstown for two warm-up matches against New Zealand A.
West Indies forces are requesting a government exemption from entering New Zealand for their upcoming series of three Twenty20 international matches, starting on November 27, and two tests starting on December 3. New Zealand’s borders are currently generally only open to residents and returning nationals.
“Like other sports teams that come to New Zealand, the West Indies cricket team is given certain exemptions from managed isolation rules that apply to everyone,” said Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield. “This includes being able to be in a bigger bubble and training in preparation for their international matches.
“It’s a privilege to come here but in return they have to obey the rules. Keeping COVID-19 from our communities and keeping our staff safe depends on it. They don’t do that, despite agreeing to abide by the exclusion parameter. “
Cricket New Zealand said it had been informed of the breach on Tuesday and supported the ministry’s action.
“NZ Cricket will continue to work with the West Indies team and management and relevant government agencies to ensure no abuses are repeated,” a spokesman said.
The West Indies squad is the first to undergo two international tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were involved in the first tour following a global sports lockdown when they were quarantined in the UK ahead of a series against England played in a bubble called bio-secure in June and July.
Most of the players return to the Caribbean for the Twenty20 domestic league before the national squad regroups for a trip to New Zealand.
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