- in Environment
Wales centre Jamie Roberts has decided to stay in South Africa amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Roberts, who plays for Super Rugby’s Cape Town-based Stormers, had hoped to travel back to the UK to renew his visa, which is due to expire at the end of April.
But the 33-year-old would not be allowed back into South Africa, which has closed its borders to all foreign nationals from countries that are high risk with Covid-19.
“No, he is not [going back],” said Stormers head coach John Dobson.
“He had to get his visa renewed. Obviously, if he flew tonight, he would not be able to return, so he has decided to stay.
“He will [have to renew his visa]. He had to by the end of April.
“He would have had to fly tonight because of our own international travel ban. So he won’t be flying for a while now,” Dobson told the press on Tuesday.
Roberts and his Stormers team-mates have been given this week off with Super Rugby suspended for an indefinite period, but the club say the team will continue to train in small groups in a carefully controlled environment from next week.
South Africa has imposed the most severe restrictions on its citizens since the end of white-minority rule after reporting its first local transmission with President Cyril Ramaphosa declaring a national disaster.
“Initially, it was people who had travelled out of the country, especially from Italy, who had positively tested for the virus,” he said.
“It is concerning that we are now dealing with internal transmission of the virus.”
Mr Ramaphosa said he would chair a government command council that would “coordinate all aspects of our extraordinary emergency response”.