Pakistan's cricket authority suspended on Tuesday an ongoing international tournament amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today postponed the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 with immediate effect," it said in a statement, adding that the two semi-finals and the final will be rescheduled for a later date. 

It said that the decision was taken after a foreign player who left Pakistan few days ago "showed symptoms of COVID-19 and will undergo screening shortly."

The PCB, it added, has made arrangements for all players and support staff, match officials, franchise owners and production crew "to undergo precautionary tests and has strongly advised them to wait for the results prior to undertaking any travel."

The PSL is an international Twenty20 cricket league comprising six teams. The event, which started in 2015, was being held in Pakistan entirely for the first time.

Speaking to the media, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: "This is absolutely the right thing to do after an overseas player, who will be tested in his country shortly, has shown symptoms of COVID-19."

He added: "We have taken the decision after discussing it with all stakeholders." 

Prior to the postponement, the authority had decided to hold the matches behind closed doors, gave the players an option to withdraw from the tournament, re-scheduled matches (play-offs were replaced by semi-finals slated for today) and reduced the number of event days.

According to a statement, some 14 international players had ruled out their participation.

The cricket board, meanwhile, also suspended all its domestic competitions and related activities.

The virus that emerged in China last December has infected at least 173,344 people in 152 countries or territories, according to the World Health Organization. Pakistan has so far confirmed 193 cases as per its Health Ministry, with the most number of patients diagnosed in Sindh province.

The pandemic has, to date, killed more than 7,000 people worldwide.