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British golfers give up Joburg Open forward of variant flight ban

JOHANNESBURG — A batch of British and Irish golfers withdrew from the Joburg Open earlier than Friday’s second spherical after the U.Ok. authorities introduced it was banning flights from South Africa to counter the unfold of a brand new COVID-19 variant.

The inaugural season of the DP World Tour began Thursday however greater than a dozen gamers pulled out of the event due to the brand new restrictions, tour spokesman Steve Todd confirmed on Friday.

The U.Ok. introduced it was suspending flights from South Africa and 5 different southern African international locations and making travellers from these international locations self-isolate for 10 days efficient from 1200 GMT Friday. From Sunday morning, travellers must go into resort quarantine.

U.Ok. Well being Secretary Sajid Javid stated there have been considerations the brand new variant “could also be extra transmissible” than the delta pressure, and “the vaccines that we presently have could also be much less efficient” in opposition to it.

Additionally, the European Union stated Friday it plans to cease air journey from southern Africa due to the variant because the 27-nation bloc is battling an enormous spike in instances.

Angel Hidalgo of Spain shot 6-under 65 on Thursday to steer the primary spherical earlier than play was suspended due to dangerous climate. It marked the beginning of a brand new period following the rebranding of the European Tour to a title which higher mirrored its world nature.

Irish golfer Paul Dunne informed RTE Radio he was unaware of the state of affairs when he completed out his delayed first spherical Friday morning. He has withdrawn and deliberate to take a flight to Dubai on Friday.

“I would three holes to complete in my first spherical, and once I got here in I turned my telephone on and I had messages from everybody asking me if I used to be going to go to the airport or keep and play. That is once I began to look into it,” Dunne told the radio show.

“A number of persons are on the course with out form of an actual concept of what is going on on,” he added, “however some persons are discovering it laborious. I’ve heard individuals cannot get a flight till Sunday night.”

Dunne stated there have been flights out there however routing via Ethiopia, the place preventing within the nation’s yearlong warfare attracts nearer to the capital, Addis Ababa.

“Little bit of a minefield on the minute,” he stated.

Not each British participant left. Ashley Chesters shot 2-under 69 on Friday to finish his second spherical on 7 below general.

The Joburg Open is the beginning of a South Africa swing, adopted by the SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Two rugby groups from Wales additionally plan to return house early from their South Africa journey. Cardiff and the Scarlets have been set to play within the United Rugby Championship this weekend.

“Following the information of a brand new Covid variant in South Africa, Scarlets want to guarantee households and mates that we’re making each effort to get our touring social gathering again house to the UK as quickly as doable,” Scarlets stated in an announcement.

In a tweet early Friday, Cardiff stated “we are actually seeking to repatriate our workers ASAP.”

Irish province Munster and Italian membership Zebre Parma are additionally in South Africa.

Munster on Friday tweeted: “All of us are protected & effectively in Pretoria. We’re working with URC on the continuing state of affairs regarding Covid-19 & will present an replace as soon as we all know extra.”

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