The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday confirmed that a further seven players and a player support personnel from a total of 35 have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the team’s tour to England.

The PCB had organised these 35 tests in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar on Monday.

Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz are the players who have tested positive apart from Pakistan cricket team masseur Malang Ali.

Pakistan are due to depart for England on Saturday ahead of a series that will see them play three Tests and three Twenty20 internationals against England, starting in August.

On Monday Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan had tested positive.

Update: Hafeez said on Wednesday that his second test, sought in a personal capacity, has come out negative for coronavirus.

Like Haider, Haris and Shadab, the board said none of the seven players and masseur had reported any prior symptoms of Covid-19 until they underwent first round of testing on Monday ahead of the side’s departure for Manchester.

The PCB said their medical panel is already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families’ wellbeing.

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said in a statement: “The recent positive tests of some of the fittest athletes, who had not shown any symptoms, clearly reflect the danger this virus possesses. As such, and on behalf of the PCB, I once again request the public to strictly adhere to all safety precautions as advised and recommended by the federal and provincial governments to ensure their health and safety as well as of their dear and near ones.

“As regards the players, who have tested positive, we will continue to monitor and support them, including conducting antibody tests, and as soon as they test negative, they will be flown to join the squad in England. At the moment, they have been advised to go into self-isolation so that they not only recover quickly but also prevent their other family members from being infected.

“The tour to England is very much on track and the side will depart as per schedule on 28 June. Fortunately, all the first-choice red-ball squad, barring Mohammad Rizwan, are negative, which means they can start training and practicing immediately after they have been tested and given the all clear when they arrive in England.

“In the meantime, Misbah-ul-Haq is reviewing the training schedule in England and is firming up plans for reserve players to be tested as a backup.”

All players that tested negative will undergo another screening for the virus in Lahore on Thursday before heading to England on a chartered plane two days later.

The Pakistan squad will then spend 14 days in quarantine in Derbyshire before moving to Manchester for practice games before the Test series.

Four reserve players – batsman Imran Butt, allrounder Mohammad Nawaz, spinner Bilal Asif and fast bowler Musa Khan – will also undergo testing. If cleared, they will join the squad.

Senior batsman Shoaib Malik has been allowed to spend some time with his Indian tennis star wife Sania Mirza and their son in Dubai.

Malik, who has retired from Test and one-day cricket, was only selected for the Twenty20 internationals and is likely to join the squad on July 24.

(with AFP inputs)