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Omicron variant: Twickenham rugby match may have been a COVID super spreader event

Omicron variant 'could travel around the world' says Fauci

On November 20 at Twickenham, 80,000 rugby fans gathered in the stands to watch England facing off South Africa for the Autumn Nations Series. Now a week later, local MP Munira Wilson (Lib-Dem) has asked all attendees to take a Covid test as part of the search for the Omicron super-variant.

To enter the stadium, all ticket-holders had to show evidence of double vaccination, a negative lateral flow test in the last 48 hours or a previous infection in the past 180 days, but this would not have stopped the Omicron variant from spreading.

MP Wilson said in a statement: “While I’m confident the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will have had the necessary protocols in place to prevent any potential spread, this serves as a reminder that we all must remain vigilant in the fight against this virus.

“Those who had flown in for the match and anyone who was in and around the stadium that day who has concerns should follow UKHSA advice in coming forward and getting tested.

“More broadly, the emergence of this new variant stresses the need to donate vaccines through the COVAX programme. Ministers must spring into action and recognise no one is safe from Covid until we all are safe.”

Rugby game Twickenham November 20

On November 20 at Twickenham, 80,000 rugby fans gathered in the stands. (Image: Getty)

Rugby game Twickenham November 20

Local MP Munira Wilson (Lib-Dem) has asked all attendees to take a Covid test. (Image: Getty)

South Africa has been officially put on the British red list along with Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia following the surge of the Omicron variant.

The South African government has described the travel restrictions as “unjustified.”

The British Prime Minister expressed his concerns regarding the new variant.

Boris Johnson said during a press conference: “Our scientists are learning more hour by hour.

READ MORE: Omicron variant: Israel bans entry to all foreign travellers

Rugby game Twickenham November 20

South Africa has been officially put on the British red list. (Image: Getty)

Rugby game Twickenham November 20

Boris Johnson said during a press conference: 'Our scientists are learning more hour by hour.' (Image: Getty)

“It does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated.

“There is also a very extensive mutation, which means it diverges quite significantly from previous configurations of the virus, and as a result, it might in part reduce the protection of our vaccines over time.”

American epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding challenged the views that the variant was brought into Europe by South African travellers.

He claims Omicron “has definitely gone global at this point with so many countries with confirmed or suspected cases of #B11529.”

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Covid variants

American epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding said Omicron has definitely gone global at this point. (Image: Express)

Microbiology Professor Florian Krammer also claims the variant was “flying under the radar” in various countries until Botswana and South Africa detected it and sounded the alarm.

He added: “The mutations in Omicron which seem to wipe out the majority of neutralising antibody epitopes are very worrisome.

“Combined with the apparent fitness of the virus, this could be a problem. There is now a lot to do to get a better idea of the risk this virus variant poses.”