London Covid: Twickenham demands rugby restrictions after Omicron ‘superspreader’ match

Twickenham locals have demanded tougher rugby restrictions after fears the England v South Africa match was an Omicron Covid variant super spreader event.

Over 80,000 rugby fans attended the England versus South Africa game at Twickenham Stadium on November 20.

Richmond has the highest Covid infection rate in London, with 620 people having the virus per 100,000 of the borough’s population according to government data on November 23.

It comes as a third case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in the UK, according to the Health Security Agency.

READ MORE:Two new Omicron cases discovered in capital

Local mum Charley Forster said: “No one’s wearing the masks general when they’re in big crowds walking towards the stadium and the pavements are so narrow.”

The 40-year-old added: “There should be fewer people at matches, this town isn’t built for 80,000 people.

“I am worried about the Omicron variant and we’re at higher risk here if they keep doing games.”

Local resident Pat Nicholson said: “I certainly am worried about the Omicron variant. There’s not enough information about it at the present time. I don’t know what the effect is going to be.”

Pat Nicholson, 71, is worried about the new Omicron Covid variant

The 71-year-old added: “The South Africa game was concerning but I stayed indoors.

“I do notice on buses young people and even elderly people aren’t wearing masks, I think the government should bring back the two metre social restrictions but not another lockdown.”

And resident Simon Smith said: “There isn’t enough information going around yet about the new variant, we don’t know if it’s actually as dangerous.

“Everyone’s been fairly sensible with Covid at the stadium but if more people stuck to wearing masks when they are asked to, that would be better.”

Twickenham local Martin Waters, said: “I’m not worried about the new coronavirus variant at the moment, I’ve had my three jabs.”

The 71-year-old added: “If Covid gets worse then maybe there should be tighter restrictions, but not at the moment.”

coronavirus covid-19 twickenham stadium

England played South Africa earlier this month at Twickenham Stadium

A spokesperson from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said: “We were delighted to welcome back capacity crowds to Twickenham Stadium for the Autumn Nations Series this November.

“All event staff were also required to undertake a dedicated training module in advance to ensure everybody was prepared prior to working at the stadium this autumn.”

Attendees get more checks, are advised to arrive earlier to prevent crowds and spectators, staff and media over 18 – unless exempt – are required to hold a valid NHS Covid Pass to enter the stadium.

They added: “We also work closely with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, as well as other key stakeholders such as the Metropolitan police, South Western Railway etc. regarding our fixtures and the return of capacity crowds to Twickenham Stadium.”

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A Richmond Council spokesperson said: “The council chaired a Safety Advisory Group, with members including the RFU and other key partners, to ensure the Autumn International fixtures were compliant with government guidance in order to keep fans and local people safe.

“It remains incredibly important that people get tested if they have symptoms of Covid-19 and self-isolate as required.

“As in any scenario following attendance at a large event, people should always take precautions and take a lateral flow test if they don’t have symptoms but may have been exposed to the virus.”

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