New COVID-19 variant: Several pros WITHDRAW from Joburg Open before travel ban

As players scramble to get home, Thomas Bjorn posted: "Let's hope this variant is not as serious as the scientist are fearing."

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 26 Nov 2021

New COVID-19 variant: Several pros WITHDRAW from Joburg Open before travel ban

The discovery of a "heavily mutated" COVID-19 variant has led to a number of golfers from the UK and Ireland withdrawing from the Joburg Open. 

After a weather disrupted 18 holes at the first event of the now DP World Tour, it was revealed the new variant is of "signficant concern". 

In a desperate bid to contain the spread, flights to England from South Africa and several other countries have been added to the red list. 

This means that anyone arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday, 27 November will need to stay at a managed quarantine hotel. 

Thomas Bjorn posted a message, hoping that pros would be able to get home safely. 

Kevin Pietersen urged the DP World Tour to charter some jets to get their UK based players back home.

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The players who withdrew from the Jobrug Open are:

Craig Howie

Richie Ramsay

Liam Johnson 

Oliver Farr

Cormac Sharvin

Graeme Storm

Steven Brown

Richard McEvoy

Matthew Jordan

Matt Ford

Andrew Wilson

There are other players who have decided to play on. They include David Drysdale, Ross Fisher and Oliver Wilson. 

The UK's health secretary, Sajid Javid, today told members of parliament that the new variant is of "huge international concern". 

There are now travel restrictions on six African countries. 

Alarmingly, the BBC have reported that a top health offical described it as "the most significant variant" to date. 

Other countries such as Germany, Italy, Israel and Singapore have also restricted travel. 

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