Cricket: Blackcaps player Tim Seifert tests positive for COVID-19

Batsman Tim Seifert has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not return to New Zealand on the charter flight with the rest of the Blackcaps' Indian Premier League contingent.

Last week, the Twenty20 tournament was suspended indefinitely, after several teams recorded cases amid India's rapidly worsening coronavirus situation.

Seifert - who represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL - has failed both of his pre-departure PCR tests, meaning he will be taken into quarantine. He's reportedly experiencing "moderate" symptoms.

The 26-year-old will be transferred to Chennai, where he will be treated in the same private hospital as former Australia player Michael Hussey, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.

Seifert didn't feature for the Knight Riders, after being called in late as an injury replacement.

One of the two charter flights transporting New Zealand’s IPL contingent back home has already departed India, and the other will leave this evening (NZ time) after being delayed for logistical reasons.

All those on the flights are observing prescribed pre-departure and in-flight protocols, including COVID-19 tests, social distancing, mask wearing and best-practice hygiene, and will again be assessed on arrival in Auckland.

Once Seifert has undergone treatment and the statutory period of isolation and has tested negative for COVID-19, he will be transferred back to New Zealand, where he will undergo the mandatory 14-day period of managed isolation.

The limited-overs specialist had returned seven negative tests in the 10 days leading into his scheduled departure.

"It's really unfortunate for Tim and we'll do everything for him that we can from this end," says NZ Cricket chief executive David White.

"Hopefully he will be able to test negative, and be cleared and approved for discharge as soon as he’s well again.

"Since receiving the news, we've organised support for Tim and have also - via the players association - been in contact with his family to ensure they’re kept fully informed and updated on developments."

There has also been a change of plan for the UK-bound charter flight transporting the Blackcaps players and staff involved in the upcoming two-test series against England and World Test Championship final against India next month.

Rather than staying in New Delhi, Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, and physiotherapist Tommy Simsek will transfer to the Maldives, after being advised that their entry to the UK was likely to be delayed a further week.

On Saturday, New Zealand was announced as one of several countries given the green light to enter the UK without needing to quarantine.