Coronavirus pandemic

Fiji ruggers slammed for escaping isolation

SUVA (Fiji) • Two Fiji rugby players have been arrested for ignoring the Pacific island nation's coronavirus self-isolation rules, with local authorities saying their "irresponsible behaviour" would also be reported to rugby's world governing body.

As of yesterday, both men were not publicly identified, but the Fiji Rugby Union and local media reported that they were sevens players and internationals.

The country's Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, accused the players of putting "the whole of Fiji at risk".

He also singled out one of them for exacerbating the Covid-19 crisis in the country.

Despite having "a high risk of exposure to the virus while overseas" - he arrived on a flight from Singapore - the unnamed player later escaped from a quarantine hospital.

Mr Bainimarama added: "Unlucky for him, he couldn't step his way past our Fiji police force. He has been arrested and is in isolation at Nadi hospital."

On the actions of the two players, the Fiji Rugby Union said it would take "appropriate disciplinary actions and would also inform World Rugby about their transgressions".

Said its chief executive John O'Connor: "The Fiji rugby family wants to put on record our great disappointment at these two players putting their families and other Fijians at risk.

"Such irresponsible behaviour is totally unacceptable, and we support the actions of the police in arresting these two players and any further action taken against them."

Former Fiji international and high-performance general manager at the country's rugby governing body, Simon Raiwalui, had harsher words for the errant pair.

"For those of you that have chosen not to respect the mandatory 14-day self-isolation, shame on you," he said. "Each of you will have your day of reckoning.

  • Others in trouble

  • LUKA JOVIC

    The Serbian government is set to press charges against the Real Madrid striker after he broke his 28-day coronavirus quarantine to visit his girlfriend last month. The order was imposed after he returned to the country from Spain. His national teammate Aleksandar Prijovic was yesterday sentenced to three months' home detention for breaking a nationwide curfew.

    NOLBERTO SOLANO

    The former Newcastle forward was last month arrested for violating a Covid-19 curfew in his native Peru, having been caught by local police at a house party in the country's capital of Lima. The footballer has since issued an apology, saying he would "assume the consequences of my actions with the greatest responsibility".

    WILSON KIPSANG

    Kenya's former world marathon record-holder spent the night in jail after being arrested drinking and playing pool with a large group in defiance of a night-time curfew, local police said last Friday. Kipsang, who is also a police officer, has since been released on bail. He is currently under provisional suspension by the World Integrity Anti-Doping Unit.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"You p*** on the sacrifices that these front-line workers make and you put every person in danger. Pull your heads in and get with the programme before it is too late."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2020, with the headline 'Fiji ruggers slammed for escaping isolation '. Print Edition | Subscribe