Munster to quarantine for 10 days on return from South Africa

Minister for Health confirmed measure will apply to everyone with no exemptions

The Munster squad training in Pretoria earlier in the week. Photo: Gordon Arons/Inpho

The Munster squad training in Pretoria earlier in the week. Photo: Gordon Arons/Inpho

 

The Munster rugby squad, coaching and backroom teams will have to quarantine at home for 10 days on their arrival back in Ireland from South Africa according to Government guidelines.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed that in the wake of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, anyone returning to the country from seven southern African countries regardless of vaccine, recovery or PCR test status will have to quarantine at home.

People will have to take two PCR tests during their quarantine period. Donnelly was asked specifically about the Munster contingent and said that the measures apply “regardless of status.”

Johann van Graan’s squad travelled to South Africa and were due to play two matches in the United Rugby Championship (URC), against the Bulls and the Lions both of which have been postponed and will be rescheduled for later in the season.

A more pressing concern for Munster is trying to get home and on Friday night there was no firm confirmation of when that would be possible. Once repatriated, a 10-day quarantine will severely disrupt preparations for the opening Heineken Champions Cup against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Sunday, December 12th.

It would also mean that Munster would not have played a match in seven weeks ahead of their scheduled fixture against the English Premiership side.

A URC statement read: “Due to the sudden developments connected with the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529) that have immediately placed a number of countries, including South Africa, on the UK and EU travel red lists, the scheduled Round 6 and 7 United Rugby Championship fixtures set to take place in South Africa over the next two weekends have been postponed and will be rescheduled later this season.

“The safety and well-being of our participating clubs, players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the foremost priority and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs - Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma - to facilitate their return as soon as possible.

“This decision is based upon the latest guidance against non-essential travel to and from South Africa, the ban on direct flights to the UK and other home destinations and the potential hotel quarantines enforced upon those returning from South Africa.

“As has been the operating practice throughout the pandemic, the URC will continue engaging with our Medical Advisory Group, our union shareholders and respective governments to plan according to the latest health guidelines.”

Munster issued a media release which stated that: “Overall, the training week in Pretoria went well and the squad returned negative PCR test results in this week’s routine testing that had taken place ahead of Round 6.

“Scrum-half Craig Casey arrived in Pretoria earlier this morning (Friday) before any announcement and will now join the squad as they look to make their way back to Ireland as soon as possible.”

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