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Netherlands vs South Africa ODI series deferred owing to Omicron COVID-19 variant

Netherlands vs South Africa ODI series deferred owing to Omicron COVID-19 variant

Gauteng, Nov 27 (UNI) A day after the first One-Day International match got washed out, Cricket South Africa and Royal Dutch Cricket Association on Saturday mutually agreed to defer the ongoing three-match series following the outbreak of Omicron COVID-19 variant here.
The decision comes after the Netherlands team expressed their anxiety and concern over travel bans and restrictions on flights from South Africa being imposed by several countries around the world including the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States of America.
The National Department of Health of South Africa on Thursday had announced that a "new variant of the COVID-19 virus discovered" in South Africa.
“We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount. The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view," CSA Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki said.
“CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023.”
The visiting Netherlands team will remain in the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) hotel until their return flights are finalised with the support of Cricket South Africa.
Jurgen Delfos, the Chairman of Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond (KNCB) or Royal Dutch Cricket Association, thanked the South African cricket board for assisting the Netherlands team. He further made it clear that the "concerns are strictly over travel issues" instead of being in the bio-secure environment.
“We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position. It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted.
"Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts. We have been looking forward to this series against the Proteas for some time and are keen on returning to South Africa in the near future," Delfos said.
Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a "variant of concern". The new coronavirus variant, which has been found in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana, has been named Omicron.
The WHO classified Omicron as a “highly transmissible virus of concern” and in a bid to contain the threat from the new COVID-19 variant, countries around the world are imposing travel bans.
UNI PN

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