Players and officials from Cardiff Rugby remain stuck in South Africa amid reports of panic attacks and “serious mental health issues” among the touring party.
Meanwhile, the Welsh government has insisted that they will not be allowed to self-isolate in Wales upon their return from Cape Town because there are no hotels in the country capable of accommodating them.
Cardiff’s matches against the Lions and Stormers, scheduled for November 27 and December 4 respectively, have been postponed, along with all other six and seven rounds of the United Rugby Championship that were due to take place in South Africa.
South Africa was immediately placed on the UK government’s red list after the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Then, on Sunday, two members of the Cardiff group tested positive for COVID, of which one of the cases was suspected to be Omicron.
This has required the party to isolate itself in individual hotel rooms, and ITV Wales sports correspondent Beth Fisher tweeted on Tuesday that there were “serious concerns” about the health and well-being of Cardiff staff.
“Individuals have panic attacks and there are serious mental problems within the group,” she wrote. “
There are individuals with pre-existing health conditions for whom quarantine does not help. Cardiff has an insured plane and a private hotel in Cardiff who has agreed to take them with the Scarlett, but the Welsh government has not.”
Fisher went on to explain that the Cardiff squad was waiting for more test results that will allow them to fly home on Thursday. However, with the European match against Toulouse scheduled for December 11, they are eager to embark on a period of self-isolation in Wales in a place that will allow them to train.
At lunchtime on Tuesday, Eluned Morgan, Wales’ Minister for Health and Social Services, suggested this would not be possible.
“Our primary responsibility is to keep the people of Wales safe,” she said. “There are rules in place to make sure that happens. These laws are things that everyone has to abide by and there will be no exceptions to that.
“We are very aware of the situation with Cardiff Rugby Club. They will need to self-isolate when they return. There are no places in Wales that can accommodate because we don’t have these hotels in Wales. There’s a very clear reason for that – because we don’t have an international airport that brings people from the list. red or potential red list countries.
“Most of our passengers land in England. We thought that taking people from an airport to a hotel in Wales would increase the health risks. It’s also very difficult for us to discuss and find a hotel in Wales that might be willing to convert itself into a COVID hotel because it means they can’t pick anyone up. Another and this is a very big request right before Christmas when the hotel is possible.She has many reservations.
“We are watching things. We are obviously interested in getting our boys home. But they will have to go home the same way everyone else in this country is expected to go home.”
Scarlets, who are also in South Africa for URC matches, have been able to return from the country and are currently in quarantine in Belfast, but Monster announced on Tuesday that the latest round of PCR tests had identified nine positive results. Those who returned with negative results have permission to return to their country.