London Covid: Concerns Twickenham rugby match with 80,000 fans may have been Omicron superspreader

The tens of thousands of rugby fans who attended the England V South Africa rugby match at Twickenham Stadium are being urged to take a Covid test over fears the event could have been a ‘superspreader’ event for the new Omicron variant.

There was an attendance of 81,623 at the match on Saturday (November 20) and fans who were there are being urged to get tested if they have any Covid symptoms in a bid to stamp out the new Omicron variant before it spreads across the UK.

Fans who were at the match were required to show evidence of double vaccination and a negative lateral flow test to get into the stadium.

However, the new variant named ‘Omicron’ is thought to be more contagious and may be able to evade vaccines to some degree.

London Covid: Concerns Twickenham rugby match with 80,000 fans may have been Omicron superspreader
© Shaun Botterill/Getty Images There was a huge crowd of fans already at the ground as the England team arrived at Twickenham Stadium

Scientists are working quickly to sequence the variant, to establish what level of Covid restrictions might be required to stop the spread.

On Saturday (November 27), Munira Wilson, the MP for the area who is also the Liberal Democrats health spokesperson, said: “While I’m confident the Rugby Football Union will have had the necessary protocols in place to prevent any potential spread, this serves as a reminder that we all must remain vigilant in the fight against this virus.

“Those who had flown in for the match and anyone who was in and around the stadium that day who has concerns should follow UK Health Security Agency advice in coming forward and getting tested.

“More broadly, the emergence of this new variant stresses the need to donate vaccines through the Covax programme. Ministers must spring into action and recognise no one is safe from Covid until we all are safe.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced initially that two people carrying the variant had been identified in the UK – one in Chelmsford, Essex, the other in Nottingham.

A third case was detected in England on Sunday, in a person with travel links to southern Africa who visited Westminster before leaving the country. It was thought the individual visited the wider borough and not Parliament.

Today (Monday, November 29), the Scottish Government announced that six cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Scotland.

So far there have been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the south-west London area around Twickenham, but Covid cases have climbed sharply in the area over the past week.

Got a view on what should be done to limit the spread of Omicron in Britain? Get it touch by emailing lucy.williamson@reachplc.com

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