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Papua New Guinea have been "forced to withdraw" from the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe this month after a slew of Covid-19 infections in the camp.
PNG were forced into quarantine on October 30 for their planned departure on November 6, but when multiple PCR tests on squad members failed to return a negative, they were left with no option but to withdraw because of "not having enough players for the tour who can pass the covid tests required for flying."
"We have also over the weekend worked with the ICC on later flight options to give the team more time to still be able to tour. Unfortunately, all the extra efforts to get the team to travel have been unsuccessful," read a Cricket PNG media release.
"We do not have enough players for the tour who can pass the Covid test required for flying internationally leaving the Cricket PNG Board no option other than to withdraw the team from the tour today."
PNG were set to travel early to acclimatise to Zimbabwean conditions after nearly two years of no cricket due to the pandemic. PNG were going to compete with West Indies, Netherlands, Ireland, and Sri Lanka in the group phase of the World Cup Qualifiers. In all, two teams from this tournament will enter the tournament proper.
"Unfortunately, despite everyone in Cricket PNG being fully vaccinated, Covid has robbed us of the opportunity to play international cricket once again," the release went on to say. "The board, management, staff and players are all devastated at this turn of events.
"Months of hard work have gone into this tour, and to be robbed by Covid before we could leave is hard to accept. Covid is in the community in PNG and despite putting in best practices, including vaccinations and quarantining players seven days early, it wasn't enough on this occasion.
Our only comfort is that all the players and support staff who have tested positive, due to being vaccinated, have had only mild or no symptoms."