Cardiff race to get home from South Africa as the country is added to the travel red list

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Cardiff are exploring making a hasty exit from South Africa as the country is one of six added to the travel red list after the discovery of a new variant of covid-19.

The Blue and Blacks are currently in Cape Town and were due to face the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday before returning to Cape Town to face the Stormers the following weekend but those games will now not go ahead as UK Government Health Minister Sajid Javid has added South Africa along with five neighbouring countries to the travel red list.

Variant B.1.1.529 has been called “one of the worst seen so far” with fears it escapes vaccinations and could be more transmissible. Only 59 cases have been identified across South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong so far but the government is taking no risks. Although Javid only controls the travel lists for England, the Welsh Government has been aligning with Westminster in this area.

South Africa will go on to the red travel list as of midday on Friday, with flights being temporarily banned. Cardiff would need to be back in the UK by 4am on Sunday morning to avoid 10 days of hotel quarantine. If they do not achieve that then the Heineken Champions Cup game will be at risk with the entire touring party isolating in a hotel.

The Blue and Blacks management are working through the night tonight to ensure that all players and staff are home as soon as possible. It is not currently known whether the games against the Lions and Stormers would be re-arranged.

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