South Africa sport set for shutdown over new coronavirus variant

South Africa sport set for shutdown over new coronavirus variant

Healthcare workers assist patients being treated at a makeshift hospital run by charity organisation The Gift of the Givers, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 11, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham/File Photo

  • Four rugby teams were due to play South African opposition in the United Rugby Championship but Welsh clubs Cardiff and Scarlets said they were looking to leave as Britain prepares to impose travel restrictions
  • British golfers on Friday also withdrew from the Joburg Open, the first event of the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour

South African sport faced a shutdown on Friday due to the detection of a new coronavirus variant, with rugby teams scrambling to leave before travel restrictions are imposed and the first event of golf’s new-look DP World Tour under threat.

Four rugby teams were due to play South African opposition in the United Rugby Championship but Welsh clubs Cardiff and Scarlets said they were looking to leave as Britain prepares to impose travel restrictions.

“With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP," Cardiff said on Twitter.

"For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments.”

Scarlets said they too were trying to leave as quickly as possible.

“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," they tweeted.

British golfers on Friday also withdrew from the Joburg Open, the first event of the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour.