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Hours after South African authorities announced they had detected a new variant of the novel coronavirus with a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, Various Health Ministry on Thursday directed states to rigorously screen and test travellers coming from or transiting through three countries in which the variant had been confirmed — South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.
The Joburg Open is the first event of the 47-tournament DP World Tour schedule
A host of UK and Irish golfers withdrew from the Joburg Open ahead of the second day's play on Friday after South Africa was added to the UK government's travel red list. Englishmen Oliver Fisher, Steven Brown, Richard McEvoy, Matthew Jordan, Andrew Wilson, Matt Ford and Graeme Storm, Scots Richie Ramsay, Liam Johnston and Craig Howie, Northern Ireland's Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin and Welshman Oliver Farr, all pulled out of the tournament, along with Irish pair Niall Kearney and Paul Dunne.
The Joburg Open is the first event of the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, and begins a three-week swing of events in South Africa.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said flights to England from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from midday Friday and all six countries will be added to the red list.
Anyone arriving after 4am on Saturday will need to stay at a managed quarantine hotel.
The Joburg Open is the first event of the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, and is the first of a 47-tournament DP World Tour schedule.
It also marks the start of The Open Qualifying Series, with the leading three players inside the top 10 - not already exempt - securing their invites to next year's major at St Andrews.
Angel Hidalgo holds early lead after weather-disrupted opening round at Joburg Open
Spaniard Angel Hidalgo cared a 65 to set the clubhouse target at six under at Randpark Golf Club, with South African Thriston Lawrence joining him at the summit with one hole to complete.
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