DHAKA: Five members of a South African women’s cricket team have become stranded in Bangladesh after testing positive for coronavirus (Covid-19), officials said on Tuesday.

Seventeen other members of the South Africa Emerging team left Bangladesh late on Monday, before the country imposed a ban on international flights over a surge in new cases there.

“The five remaining have been put into isolation in Dhaka,” said Shafiul Alam Nadel of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

“All members of the South African team gave Covid-19 test samples before their departure from Sylhet. Five of them tested positive,” said Himangshu Lal Roy, deputy director of the Osmani Medical College in the northeastern city. The team’s fifth match was due to start on Tuesday in Sylhet.

But they cut short the tour because of the flight ban, which will last from Wednesday until April 14, as part of efforts to combat the new spread of infections in the South Asian nation.

“The five in isolation will be tested again and if the results are negative we will send them back home at the earliest possible time,” said Nadel.

Documents indicated that team manager Matshipi Marcia Letsoalo and players Sinalo Jafta, Leah Jones, Nobulumko Baneti and Robyn Searle had been left behind.

Bangladesh has reported more than 684,000 Covid-19 cases and almost 9,800 deaths. New infections have jumped to 7,000 cases a day in recent weeks, from below 300 in February.

The government has ordered an eight-day closure of all offices and transport from Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2021

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