WELLINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Pakistan cricket team have had their exemption to train during managed isolation in Christchurch withdrawn due to several members of the squad testing positive for the novel coronavirus, New Zealand's Ministry of Health said on Friday.
Eight members of the 53-strong Pakistan squad have tested positive for the virus since arriving in New Zealand.
"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.
"There have been a number of active cases identified among the team. Public health considerations will continue to be foremost in our response to COVID-19, whether this involves individuals or teams.
"We appreciate the challenges that this decision will have for the touring team."
Under the exemption the squad would have been allowed to train in small groups from the fourth day of their mandatory 14-day isolation until they were released next week.
The initial positive tests that were discovered upon their arrival, however, prompted Bloomfield to temporarily suspend the exemption until the Health Ministry completes an investigation.
The squad were also warned for breaching bio-security regulations last week.
Pakistan were scheduled to have a four-day game starting on Dec. 10 against New Zealand 'A' upon their release from isolation, but opted instead to play a series of intra-squad matches, New Zealand Cricket said on Thursday.
The tourists are due to play three Twenty20 internationals and two tests from Dec. 18, while a Pakistan 'A' tour will also be held concurrently. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)