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PCB awaiting COVID-19 test results of around 100 people after suspension of PSL

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The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday said around 100 people, including players, associated with the now-suspended Pakistan Super League (PSL) have undergone COVID-19 tests.

PSL was postponed on Tuesday after the country’s Cricket Board revealed that a foreign player showed symptoms with former captain-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja revealing that it was England’s Alex Hales. Hales later said he has gone into self-isolation due to fever and persistent dry cough after returning home.

“We are expecting the first results later tonight or tomorrow,” a PCB official said.

“Until now no test result has come but we have taken all precautionary steps to ensure the health and safety of players and officials belonging to the semi-finalist teams, umpires, commentators and even PCB officials and production staff members,” he added.

The coronavirus outbreak has so far claimed more than 8000 lives and infected close to 2,00,000 globally.

Given the health crisis, the PCB has announced closure of its offices in Lahore and Karachi until Monday when they would review the situation and take further decisions.

For the time being, the employees have been told to work from home and practice social distancing.

Asked if the foreigners, who were a part of the production staff, had been allowed to return home, the official didn’t give a clear answer, saying it was an ongoing process and the test results were awaited.

The PCB has come under criticism for not postponing the Pakistan Super League earlier but the official said they took all decisions in consultation with the government and health agencies.

“The moment we saw the message from Hales who had returned home last week we acted promptly and followed all protocol to ensure everyone’s safety and well being,” he said.

The PCB, which was forced to hold at least four matches behind closed doors at the National Stadium in Karachi and had similar plan for the semifinals and the final, are yet to assess the exact loss of revenue.

“If we presume there is a full house for one match in Karachi or Lahore plus the sale of hospitality boxes and other commercial deals the loss of revenue for one match played before a empty stadium could be in the range of between 70 to 100 million rupees,” a source in the board said.

“It will cut into our deal with the broadcasters and title sponsors as well,” he added.

This was the first time that the PCB organised the PSL entirely in Pakistan and the matches drew full houses in Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore plus.