By Nick Said
Rugby team Munster are to remain in Cape Town after an unnamed member of the squad tested positive for Covid-19, the club said on Sunday.
Munster are one of four European rugby union teams that were in South Africa when authorities raised the alarm about the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
“Munster Rugby will remain in Cape Town while we wait on next steps from the health authorities after returning one positive case in our latest testing,” the club said in a Twitter post.
Travel Update #MunsterInSA 🇿🇦
Munster Rugby will remain in Cape Town while we wait on next steps from the health authorities after returning one positive case in our latest testing.
Thanks for all the messages of support and best wishes.#SUAF 🔴
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 28, 2021
The statement did not say whether the positive test was the Omicron variant.
The team departed Pretoria on Saturday and made their way to Cape Town, hoping to join Welsh sides Scarlets and Cardiff Rugby on a charter flight out of South Africa on Sunday.
They will now instead stay in their Cape Town hotel. Italian side Zebre are the other team still in the country.
“In taking all precautions and prioritising the health and wellbeing of everyone Munster Rugby will not travel today and will return to their hotel for an isolation period as a matter of priority,” the club said.
The Munster players will still have to isolate for 10 days on their return to Ireland, which will have a potentially massive impact on their future fixtures.
They are due to play Wasps on December 12th and Castres on December 18th in the European Rugby Champions Cup, fixtures which could now be under threat depending on how long they remain in Cape Town.
Meanwhile, any hotel quarantine in the United Kingdom for Scarlets and Cardiff, which will be the case if rules are applied, will leave them unable to train on the pitch for 10 days and throw preparations for their European Rugby games on December 11th into doubt.
Although there are no direct flights from South Africa to Ireland, direct flights to Britain were halted on Friday.
Travellers from southern Africa arriving in Britain and European countries face onerous quarantine restrictions as part of steps to avoid the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus detected there this week.