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Not all vaccinated but protocols mitigating Lions’ risk: chief

British & Irish Lions Tour

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British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley. Credit: David Rogers/Getty Images

British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley. Credit: David Rogers/Getty Images

Getty Images

British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley. Credit: David Rogers/Getty Images

British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley has defended the decision to include unvaccinated people in their bio-secure bubble in South Africa.

On Wednesday, the executive in charge of the tour revealed that a small minority of the party have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and, pressed on that revelation at a press conference yesterday, he declined to say how many members of the touring party had not been fully vaccinated, whether anyone had travelled with just one dose or to elaborate on the reasons why people had taken the decision to decline the pre-departure offer of vaccination.

“Well, I think everyone has a right to make their own decision on whether or not they want to be vaccinated. We have a number of strategies in place to mitigate the risk in any environment,” Calveley said.

“I think it’s wrong for anyone to think that vaccination is some sort of universal panacea. I’m afraid it’s not. So we have an approach which is multi-layered where, as well as having a majority of the party being vaccinated, we are also exhibiting all of the right behaviours that I’ve spoken about before.

“We’re getting tested three times a week, if not more, we’re socially distancing, we’re well ventilated, we’re observing hand hygiene, we’re wearing masks, we’re not integrating with the public, and we’re travelling very infrequently.

“So we think we’ve got a very, very robust set of protocols in place that will keep us as safe as they possibly can.”

The Lions will play the Sharks for the second time in four days tomorrow after the Durban-based side stepped in to replace the Bulls, who are dealing with their own Covid-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Springboks remain in isolation after their outbreak forced them to cancel their match against Georgia today. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to field a South Africa ‘A’ side against the Lions next Wednesday.

Calveley rejected the idea that the tour could be switched to the United Kingdom to allow fans attend the matches.

“We are here in South Africa, we made a decision back in March that we would make the tour work here,” he said.

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