NZ Breakers Covid-19 outbreak doubles, 8 members of travelling party test positive

The New Zealand Breakers season-opening National Basketball League game next Saturday in Melbourne is now in major doubt of going ahead as scheduled.
The Breakers on Friday confirmed from their base in Melbourne that the Covid-19 outbreak among their travelling party had doubled to eight members of the wider group of 39 which includes club management and family members.

Stuff understands there are fears that number could grow still further as testing continues. It appears, judging by numbers released via the club, that three players are among the unidentified group afflicted.

There was some positive news in that most of the playing group had been able to return to the practice floor on Friday, following the required negative PCR and rapid antigen tests undertaken in Melbourne. However the team has clearly been rattled by the outbreak, and it is difficult to see how there can be any sort of a level playing field with the season start just a week away.

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The Breakers confirmed via their social media channels that 11 of their 14-strong playing group had returned to the court following the Covid outbreak that forced them into isolation from last Sunday. They are due to open the regular season against South East Melbourne Phoenix next Saturday, and have already had to cancel their final pre-season game.

The Kiwi club confirmed in the same release that eight of their wider travelling group had now tested positive for Covid-19, doubling from the four who had done so when the outbreak was first unveiled on Tuesday.

The NBL has yet to make any official statements around the Breakers situation, but Stuff understands they are watching the outbreak closely, and will have to act sooner rather than later if the first game is to be put on ice.

The Breakers are scheduled to back up against the Phoenix on Friday, December 10, so the league should have some wriggle room with the two games.

Friday's green light to return to practice for those well enough followed negative PCR tests undertaken in Melbourne earlier in the week and the passing of rapid antigen tests prior to training. All players back on court are symptom-free, the club said.

The eight members of the travelling party who had tested positive for Covid-19 were all still isolating as they followed Victorian state guidelines around the virus.

The Breakers were not commenting any further on the situation at this stage.

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