Wales and Australia to go down to the wire
Cardiff and the Scarlets are planning to return to Wales at the earliest opportunity after South Africa was added to the UK Government's travel red list.
The two clubs were set to take part in the United Rugby Championship in South Africa this weekend, with the Scarlets facing the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, and Cardiff playing the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday.
However, after UK officials warned of a new variant of the virus, both clubs issued short statements overnight stressing they are working on returning to the UK as soon as possible.
Cardiff said they are "looking to repatriate our staff ASAP", adding that "our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people".
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Scarlets said: "Following the news of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are making every effort to get our touring party back home to the UK as soon as possible."
Irish province Munster and Italian club Zebre Parma are also in South Africa ahead of fixtures against the Bulls and Stormers respectively.
Following the news of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are making every effort to get our touring party back home to the UK as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.
S.Africa tourism in turmoil after variant sparks travel bans
Helpless and furious, South African tour operators are flooded with cancellations as countries follow Britain's decision to ban travel from the region over the discovery of a new coronavirus variant. "This is a knee-jerk reaction but with such a strong snowball effect," said Richard de la Rey of Dark Giraffe Marketing, which organises safaris and beach holidays in Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa. "No one knows anything about this variant at all and they just assume the worst," he huffed.
UK officials warned on Thursday night that the new variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 has the potential to evade immunity built up by vaccination or prior infection.
Sajid Javid, the UK Health Secretary, said that flights to England from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from midday Friday and all six countries will be added to the red list.
The European Tour - now known as the DP World Tour - has just commenced a three- week swing of events in South Africa and there were numerous withdrawals from the Joburg Open.
Englishmen Oliver Fisher, Steven Brown, Richard McEvoy, Matthew Jordan, Andrew Wilson, Matt Ford and Graeme Storm, Scots Richie Ramsay, Liam Johnston and Craig Howie, Northern Ireland's Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin and Welshman Oliver Farr, all pulled out of the tournament before the second round commenced on Friday, along with Irish pair Niall Kearney and Paul Dunne.
Everything we know about the Omicron Covid strain so far . Epidemiologist Nancy Baxter, who is the head of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at University of Melbourne, said 'there's reason to be concerned but no reason to panic'.Epidemiologist Nancy Baxter, who is the head of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at University of Melbourne, said 'there's reason to be concerned but no reason to panic' about the new variant.
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