Cardiff Rugby team stranded in South Africa after Omicron outbreak

Cardiff Rugby team stranded in South Africa after Omicron outbreak

CARDIFF Rugby team are stranded in South Africa amid an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Players have been forced to isolate in their hotel after two people within the group tested positive for Covid.

Cardiff Rugby team stranded in South Africa after Omicron outbreak

Cardiff Rugby team are having to isolate in a hotel in South Africa after two people tested positive for Covid Credit: Huw Evans

Cardiff Rugby team stranded in South Africa after Omicron outbreak

At least one is suspected to be the new super-strain, Omicron.

The team were due to fly back to the UK from Cape Town today but their plans were scuppered when two tests came back positive.

“Cardiff Rugby have been unable to depart South Africa following two positive cases of Covid-19, one of which is suspected to be the new variant Omicron,” the team said in a statement.

“The travelling party had hoped to depart Cape Town this afternoon after a charter plane was secured, however PCR tests undertaken last night have returned two positive results.

“As a consequence of one of these results suspected of being Omicron, the entire travelling party have returned to their hotel to isolate.”

Players and staff are hoping to return to Wales when “safe” to do so.

“Cardiff Rugby continue to work with the South African Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union and public health authorities both at home and abroad to decide the next course of action,” the team added.

“The club are also continuing to work with all relevant authorities to secure the travelling party's return to Wales when safe and appropriate.

“Everybody concerned in this highly challenging situation would like to thank their families, friends, colleagues and the wider rugby family for their many messages of concern and well wishes.”

Omicron — discovered only days ago in southern Africa — has been declared the worst variant yet by one expert, while there are fears it might reduce vaccine protection over time.

It comes after two cases of the fast-spreading super strain were confirmed in the UK yesterday – sparking fears the UK could be plunged back into lockdown over the festive season.

Compulsory mask-wearing is set to return next week in a bid to save Christmas from a super-mutant coronavirus.

Within hours of two cases of the new variant being found in Britain, four more African countries – Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia – were added to the red list for travel, bringing the total to ten in three days.

They join South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, with any arrivals from 4am today having to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.

Yesterday there were 39,567 cases and 131 deaths recorded in the UK — down from 50,091 cases and 160 deaths on Friday.

The world is scrambling to contain the variant as cases appear outside the region where it was first detected.

A host of countries have now imposed travel restrictions on southern African countries amid fears about the virulence of the new strain.

Scientists are racing to determine the threat posed by the heavily mutated strain, which is more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant, and whether it can evade existing vaccines.

Britain is ‘nowhere near’ a full lockdown and Christmas will be ‘great’ despite Omicron panic, Sajid Javid says

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