Pakistan’s Super League suspended after seven players tested positive for coronavirus, the country’s cricket committee has said.
Pakistan has suspended its flagship Twenty20 (T20) cricket tournament which started last month after seven team staff tested positive for COVID-19, the cricket council said.
The teams participating in the country’s most prominent sporting event, which also included international players, were all present in the southern city of Karachi, where matches were taking place.
“The health and well-being of all participants is paramount,” a statement from the cricket committee said Thursday.
The decision to suspend HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6 with immediate effect was taken following a meeting with the owners of the team, he said.
The decision was made after seven cases were reported during the competition, which began on February 20. Officials did not immediately give a resumption date.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told Reuters news agency three international players were among the seven who tested positive.
The seven players included Australian spinner Fawad Ahmed, Englishman Tom Banton and Mohammad Faizan, who represents Lahore.
Australian all-rounder Daniel Christian has withdrawn from competition for fear of catching the virus and was planning to fly away on Thursday.
The coronavirus has proven to be another hurdle for PSL, which is now in its sixth year but was held entirely in Pakistan for the first time last year.
Previous editions have been welcomed in whole or in part by the United Arab Emirates due to security concerns following the deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.
Last year, three playoffs and the final were called off after England’s Alex Hales showed symptoms of COVID-19. Matches were postponed to November and took place behind closed doors, when Karachi Kings won the title.
Authorities last week allowed the PSL tournament to increase spectator size from 20% to 50% of the stadium’s capacity.
Pakistan has so far recorded 585,435 cases of COVID-19 and more than 13,000 deaths. The past two days have seen at least 130 deaths, according to government data.
The country only imposed a lockdown for a few weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in March of last year, and has gradually lifted the few restrictions it had in place since then.