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PNG pull out of Women's WC Qualifiers after COVID-19 outbreak

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Port Moresby, Nov 9 (IANS) Papua New Guinea (PNG) cricket team has withdrawn from the upcoming Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe following the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in their camp.

The ICC women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021 is scheduled to be played across four venues in Harare, Zimbabwe from November 21 to December 5.

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Ahead of their planned departure on November 6, PNG were in quarantine and multiple PCR tests of the squad members came out positive, forcing them to pull out.

“Multiple PCR tests have been done on nearly a daily basis to try to give players the opportunity to test negative. We have also over the weekend worked with the ICC on later flight options to give the team more time to still be able to tour,” said Cricket PNG in a statement.

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“Unfortunately, all the extra efforts to get the team to travel have been unsuccessful. We do not have enough players for the tour who can pass the Covid test required for flying internationally leaving the Cricket PNG Board no option other than to withdraw the team from the tour today,” it added.

PNG haven’t played any international cricket for about two years due to the Covid-19 situation and they were expected to reach Zimbabwe early in order to get used to the conditions.

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The Kaia Arua-led side were grouped alongside the West Indies, Netherlands, Ireland, and Sri Lanka in the World Cup Qualifiers.

“Unfortunately, despite everyone in Cricket PNG being fully vaccinated, COVID has robbed us of the opportunity to play international cricket once again. The board, management, staff and players are all devastated at this turn of events. Months of hard work have gone into this tour, and to be robbed by COVID before we could leave is hard to accept,” the board said.

“COVID is in the community in PNG and despite putting in best practices, including vaccinations and quarantining players seven days early, it wasn’t enough on this occasion. Our only comfort is that all the players and support staff who have tested positive, due to being vaccinated, have had only mild or no symptoms,” it added.

–IANS

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