South Africa's women cricketers flee Bangladesh before COVID shutdown

International flights will be suspended from 14 April for a week as the government imposes restrictions on movement to combat the new wave of infections.

People leave the city as Bangladesh authorities ordered an eight-day lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Dhaka on 12 April 2021. Picture: Munir uz zaman/AFP

DHAKA - South Africa's emerging women's tour of Bangladesh has been cut short with the squad rushing to leave ahead of a flight ban prompted by soaring COVID-19 cases, officials said Monday.

International flights will be suspended from 14 April for a week as the government imposes restrictions on movement to combat the new wave of infections.

The visitors had already played four limited-over matches against Bangladesh after arriving in early April.

The fifth match had been scheduled for Tuesday in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

"The decision to cancel the last match was taken to accommodate the visiting side's return home before the suspension of international flight operations," the Bangladesh Cricket Board said in a statement.

"We are making a special arrangement for their return. Hopefully, they will fly home tonight," said Towhid Mahmud, the board's official responsible for women's cricket.

The country of 168 million has reported more than 684,000 cases so far and almost 9,800 deaths.

New infections have jumped to as high as 7,000 cases a day in recent weeks, after falling below 300 in February. The death toll rose to a new daily high of 78 on Sunday.

The government on Monday ordered an eight-day closure of all offices, and all transport from Wednesday.

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