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New Zealand calls off community cricket due to COVID-19 pandemic

New Zealand on Wednesday cancelled community cricket, including clubs and schools, for the rest of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, in a message to NZC”s associations, said the board decided to suspend community games based on expert advice from its chief medical officer and the recent government information.

“This morning NZC has received updated medical advice from our chief medical officer, Dr Martin Swan, detailing the first person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand,” White was quoted as saying by stuff.nz.

“Dr Swan”s advice to NZC is that the community game (clubs and schools) is now increasingly vulnerable to the transmission of the virus.”

The death toll following the novel coronavirus outbreak is nearly 8000 while close to 2,00,000 people have been infected globally. New Zealand has reported 20 cases.

“We therefore advise members that community cricket should no longer be played for the rest of the season,” White said.

“This decision follows our most recent medical advice and recognises our obligations towards the New Zealand cricket family and the wider public interest,” a NZC media statement said.

The decision comes two days after the cancellation of the final two rounds of the Plunket Shield. Club cricket in New Zealand usually runs until late March.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has shredded sports calendars worldwide, including international and domestic cricket.

Last week, New Zealand”s ODI series against Australia was called off after the first match, as was India”s ODI series against South Africa. Both series were to be held without spectators before being scrapped.

England”s tour of Sri Lanka was also cut short before the beginning of the two-match Test series while the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which was due to start on March 29, has been suspended till April 15.

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