European rugby and golf players wanted to leave South Africa urgently, Friday, November 26, after the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 potentially very contagious and with multiple mutations.
Four Welsh, Italian and Irish rugby clubs, on hand to compete against South African teams in Matchday 6 of the United Rugby Championship (URC), were in South Africa when a Ministry of Health press conference sparked a panic movement among the sportsmen.
“The situation in South Africa having changed so rapidly, we are now seeking to repatriate our staff as soon as possible. For families and friends concerned, please rest assured that our goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff. and that we will keep you informed of the evolution of the situation“, tweeted the Cardiff club.
With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP. For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments.
— Cardiff Rugby (@Cardiff_Rugby) November 25, 2021
Same story with the Scarlets: “Following the announcement of a new variant in South Africa, the Scarlets wish to assure families and friends that we are doing everything possible to bring our tour team back to the UK as soon as possible “. The Munster, for its part, declared to be “safe and healthy “, while working “with the organizers of the RCU on the current situation “.
Four matches are scheduled this weekend on behalf of the 6th day of the URC, a championship between Welsh, Irish, Italian, Scottish and South African teams.
Cricket soon concerned
The new variant, called B.1.1.529, has a number “extremely high” mutations and “we can see that it has a potential for very rapid spread”said virologist Tulio de Oliveira at an online press conference hosted by the South African Department of Health.
The statement also prompted some 15 British and Irish players to immediately forfeit the rest of the Johannesburg Open, counting towards the European golf circuit, which started on Thursday. They wanted to leave the country as quickly as possible before the borders were closed by the British authorities.
Cricket could also be concerned with a test match between South Africa and the Netherlands, scheduled for Friday, the holding of which has not yet been confirmed, pending a much-awaited tour of India next month. . At this stage, South African scientists are unsure of the effectiveness of existing vaccines against this new form of the virus. The WHO was to meet on Friday to determine the dangerousness of the variant.