New Zealand Cricket chief confident Australia will tour despite COVID scare

(Reuters) - New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White has played down concerns they may not be able to host Australia in upcoming series after the country confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in the community in months.

New Zealand's men will host Australia in a five-match Twenty20 series beginning on Feb. 22 in Christchurch. The women's team play England in three one-dayers and three T20s from Feb. 23 before hosting Australia.

New Zealand on Monday confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in the community in months in a 56-year-old woman, prompting Australia to immediately suspend a travel bubble with the country for 72 hours.

"We're very positive that the tours to New Zealand will proceed with the Australian teams," White told New Zealand's Stuff media.

"We've been guided by the New Zealand government agencies all summer, they've been terrific and very supportive, and we will continue to be guided by them."

White added that the England women's team arrive in New Zealand on Tuesday.

New Zealand's men are set to tour England for two tests in June and White is confident the series will go ahead despite the COVID-19 situation there.

"We've been working with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the last 12 months, just working together on the different bio bubbles and things," White said.

"They're very advanced, very sophisticated in their approach, and we're very confident that it will be all in order for our players."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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