The prop was reported to be in self-isolation this week after travelling through Hong Kong on the way back from Tonga, but he has been training with his club. Confusion has since ensued as no one can really make sense of the matter and no one can make out who is in the right in this situation.
Saracens have addressed the issue, which helps explain their thought process. This is what they said in their statement: “Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola returned to Saracens after visiting family in Tonga which included a short stop at Hong Kong airport.
“Travellers returning from Hong Kong are not currently subject to mandatory quarantine or self-isolation unless they become symptomatic. Neither Billy or Mako have displayed symptoms of the coronavirus (covid-19) and on their return to London were assessed by the club’s medical staff.
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The Breakdown looks back on the Super Rugby action from the weekend just gone
“The duo have been around the Saracens environment for the past couple of days, with the latter available for selection this weekend. Saracens will continue to follow the Public Health England and World Health Organisation regulations surrounding coronavirus and the medical staff will be closely monitoring Billy and Mako on a regular basis.”
The English champions have received the backing of many fans, who think that they have been reasonable in this circumstance as the 29-year-old has shown no symptoms of the virus and should be free to play. Equally, England have been commended by some for being cautious in this situation and excluding Vunipola from their plans.
Turns out England were overreacting……MV playing for Saracens instead??
— andrew draper (@62drapes) March 4, 2020
Strange disparity between two messages, RFU stating isolation, Saracens stating the opposite
— Scrumpox (@scrumpox1) March 4, 2020
Where better to feel isolated than at Saracens at the moment? ? I back the England camp medical policy – they have the whole squad and support team welfare in mind. Athletes who are also more prone to Virus and they have far more important games ahead in the coming weeks.
— Richard Bishop (@WellnessBishop) March 4, 2020
Mako can play for sarries but not England due to coronavirus fears? Not the first time Saracens haven’t stuck to rules
— Kieran (@McgillKieran) March 4, 2020
#EnglandRugby seemingly taking reasonable #CoronaVirus precautions with #MakoVunipola. #Saracens doing what #Sarries do with #Vunipola and any #Corona fears – i.e. Totally ignoring medical advice and the welfare of others, as rules seemingly don’t apply to them.
Go figure ????
— Exiled_Posh_Fan & a GroundHopper: 72/92. (@Exiled_Posh_Fan) March 4, 2020
What a mess re Mako Mako Vunipola. Either both England and Saracens should stand him down due to coronavirus self isolation or he should be playing for England.
— NigeH64 (@nige_h64) March 4, 2020
Did I dream that Mako was unavailable for england selection because he was in self-isolation? Why exactly is he training with Saracens then?
Surely given the situation at the moment clubs should be setting an example not flouting the guidelines?
— Izzy Jackson (@IzzyJackson98) March 4, 2020
Conversely, the Rugby Football Union have been accused of overreacting while Saracens have come under fire for perhaps ignoring rules set out. Either way, this is a bizarre stalemate that neither party would have wanted.
What is clear is that England and Saracens cannot have completely different reactions to these circumstances without raising more questions as to who is being more sensible.
WATCH: RugbyPass goes behind the scenes at Tonga prepare for the 2019 World Cup in Japan
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