The Welsh Government’s handling of Cardiff’s travel crisis getting home from South Africa has been nothing short of pathetic as the travelling party continues to be stuck 8,000 miles from home.
Throughout this last week support from our elected politicians has been virtually non-existent, culminating in some frankly embarrassing comments from health minister Eluned Morgan in recent days that have effectively amounted to her washing her hands of the welfare of 50 people stuck overseas thanks to a decision taken by her Government.
This all started last week with South Africa being added to the travel red list late on Thursday night, with UK air space closed to flights from the country until early this week until quarantine hotels could be prepared, after the discovery of covid-19’s omicron variant.
Cardiff managed to organise a charter plane that could have landed in Rhoose and a hotel in the city that was prepared to exclusively house them and the Scarlets, also stuck in the country, under quarantine conditions for 10 days. From there they could have had training equipment easily transported to them, or perhaps have arranged to train at a secure location within a bubble.
However, rather than be prepared to facilitate this common sense approach that Cardiff and Scarlets have gone out of their way to organise and pitch, the Government has turned their back on them and told the Blue and Blacks to return via an English airport and do the 10 days of quarantine across the border, reportedly threatening them with serious consequences if they do attempt to return to Wales.
And it is a common sense approach, not special treatment, because this is not a regular holidaymaker returning home from abroad. This is a professional sports team under a strict regime of regular PCR testing that has been able to go into hard quarantine conditions in Cape Town.
If it were you or I who were stuck in South Africa we would not have the means to go into that quarantine, access regular PCR testing, arrange a charter flight for just our bubble and secure a hotel that is prepared to exclusively house that bubble for 10 days in Cardiff, nor would we expect the Welsh Government to organise that for us.
This isn’t any sort of political attack either. I try to keep my rugby rants and politics separate, but I very much lean left politically and have previously voted for Welsh Labour. Neither is it some sort of blind cheerleading because I’m a Cardiff supporter, regular readers will be aware I have no problem opposing the club when I feel necessary.
It’s just an objective as possible viewpoint on a situation that to my eyes has a very obvious solution, but one that has been rejected without good reason by Eluned Morgan and a Welsh Government that is supposedly “very interested in bringing our boys home” but has done absolutely nothing to support that.