Canada junior field hockey team to return home after being stranded in South Africa due to Omicron
Strict travel rules by the Canadian Government to limit the spread of the new variant, Omicron prompted the national junior field hockey team to seek an exemption to return home.
The team was in South Africa for the Junior World Cup, now postponed due to the rise of Omicron cases.
To return home, they must take a molecular test in South Africa, such as a PCR test. Then, they were required to take another test while landing in Germany, something German officials would not allow them to do.
After hearing from many Canadians pleading to bring them home, Ottawa allowed the team to skip that test in Germany and take one as soon as they touch down in Canada.
Danielle Husar told CTV News the team is thankful they can now return home, while transiting through Germany.
“Then following that, (we will have to) do a 14-day quarantine,” said Husar.
“Those are the measures that we currently have to follow. It is understandable for the situation, and we are all willing to do that as long as we can get home safely and as soon as possible.”
The players are from Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, including two University of Calgary students.
South Africa is one of ten countries under Canada’s travel ban.
Husar says the restrictions have taken a toll on her teammates.
“We had a lot of people back home sending messages to people in the high positions of power asking and demanding that these exemptions be made because we were being blocked out of our own country by these restrictions,” she said.
“So the fact they heard what we had to say, listened and put this exemption into place – is very reassuring.”
Husar says the team is booked on a flight for Wednesday through Lufthansa to return home.