A leading Cardiff Rugby figure has criticised the Welsh government after the team have been left stranded in South Africa due to Covid-19 concerns.

With Cardiff stuck in a Cape Town hotel, chief operating officer Rhys Blumberg says the Welsh government have shown “appalling empathy and support”.

Health minister Eluned Morgan said on Tuesday no Covid isolation exceptions could be given.

Blumberg says Cardiff only want to get back on Welsh soil to start quarantine.

Blumberg was supported by Cardiff head of performance Trystan Bevan, who is in South Africa.

“Being out in SA [South Africa] I feel that I must support Rhys here,” Bevan wrote on Twitter.

“The performative fist-pumping empty bluster of ‘get the boys home’ in the WG [Welsh government] press conference earlier sadly rang out identical to the empty rhetoric that the WG so profoundly seems to dismiss as Westminsterian. Disappointing.”

UK rules state anyone arriving from six recently red-listed countries in Africa, including South Africa, must isolate in a hotel for 10 days.

Cardiff and Scarlets have been looking to return to Wales to start their self-isolation after the regulations were brought in last Thursday.

Scarlets were also in South Africa but they landed in Dublin on Monday on a flight both teams were scheduled to take.

Scarlets were driven to Belfast where they have been told by the Welsh government they must complete their isolation.

Cardiff’s initial two positive Covid cases ended hopes of flying out of South Africa on Sunday. The club confirmed one of the initial cases is suspected to be the Omicron variant which sparked travel restrictions on flights from South Africa to the UK.

They are waiting for a return flight but they will also not be able to self-isolate in Wales. Welsh health minister Morgan said there are no quarantine hotels in the country and new legislation would need to be passed to allow that to happen.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “In order to keep Wales safe, under Welsh law, it is illegal for anyone who has been in a red list country in the last 10 days to enter Wales directly.

“Therefore there are no quarantine facilities in Wales. This has been the case since early last year, and this applies to everyone, including rugby teams.”

The procedure is stated as those arriving in the UK from a red list country must have proof of a negative coronavirus test, taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

They must enter through a designated port in England or Scotland. Cardiff International Airport is not a designated port of entry, meaning travellers cannot travel directly to Wales.

They must enter managed quarantine for 10 days and to reduce public health risk, the Welsh government says they advise travellers should isolate as close to the point of arrival as possible.

As most international travel to Wales is via English ports, the Welsh government claim there is a clear rationale for locating quarantine hotels near these ports.

The Welsh government say there is no capacity anywhere in the UK to comply with red list quarantine requirements and train. Isolation requirements are the same for all individuals, no matter what their profession.





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