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Three SL players test positive for Covid-19 in Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier

Harare, Nov 21 (IANS) Three players of the Sri Lankan team participating in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021 in Zimbabwe have tested positive for COVID-19, said the ICC on Sunday. It also said that all three players in question, whose identities arent revealed yet, are isolating.

"The players tested positive following a screening of all team members after one player showed mild symptoms, as per the bio-secure protocols in place to ensure the safety of all participants in the nine-team event, which got underway in Harare today. Two of the players are experiencing mild symptoms, whilst the third is asymptomatic. All three are isolating and receiving the appropriate medical care," said the ICC in a release.

It also said that the rest of the members in the Sri Lankan team have tested negative but are currently isolated as a precaution. The remaining members will be re-tested ahead of their opening match against the Netherlands on Tuesday at Harare Sports Club.

ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley said the event would be proceeding as planned. "We have playing squads of 15 at the event, which allows for injuries and illness, including COVID-19 to be managed, and in addition, teams have had the option of bringing traveling reserves with them."

"As you would expect, the remainder of the squad are being closely monitored and they will all be re-tested ahead of taking to the field on Tuesday. The event bio-security plan provides us with protocols to manage positive tests effectively with the intention of enabling the event to proceed whilst keeping all other players and participants safe."

Sri Lanka play the Netherlands in their opening match on Tuesday with their remaining Group A matches on Saturday against the West Indies followed by Ireland on Monday. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and the USA form Group B. Three sides from each group will make the cut for the Super Six stage, in which the final placings will be decided.

The tournament, which was postponed twice and moved to Zimbabwe from Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will decide the three teams who will play in t'e ICC Women's Cricket World Cup to be held in New Zealand from March 4 to April 3 in 2022. The three teams will be joining five already-qualified teams via the ICC Women's Championship - Australia, England, India, South Africa, and hosts New Zealand.

The three qualifiers as well as the next two teams will also ensure places in the next ICC Women's Championship (IWC) along with the top five from last time, with the number of teams in the third cycle of the IWC going up from eight to 10 teams. Previously, on November 8, Papua New Guinea withdrew from the tournament due to several players testing positive for COVID-19.