SA women cricketers cleared to leave Bangladesh after new Covid tests

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Five members of a South African women's cricket touring party, who tested positive for Covid-19 in Bangladesh, were cleared to return home Tuesday after second tests found them infection free, Cricket South Africa said.

The five were left behind when the other 17 members of the Emerging South Africa squad left late Monday after Bangladesh authorities announced they would halt international flights from Wednesday because of soaring pandemic cases.

CSA said that initially the five returned positive tests but, following a second test, these turned out to be false positives.

"It is a great relief for all of us, not least of all the players, their colleagues and their families, that all our players and officials are now clear to return home," CSA acting chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said in a statement.

The five remaining women had been put into isolation in Dhaka after the first tests which were carried out in Sylhet where the team had been due to start a match on Tuesday.

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

Bangladesh's flight ban until 14 April is part of new restrictions ordered by the government on Monday to combat the new spread of infections in the South Asian nation.

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.

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