Georgia rugby coach in 'severe' condition in South African hospital
The Georgia rugby coach has “serious lung damage” from COVID-19 and has been put on a ventilator in South Africa.
Levan Maisashvili was one of six members of the Georgian touring party to test positive after playing against South Africa on July 2 in Pretoria as part of a series organised to help the world champion Springboks prepare for the British and Irish Lions tour.
The five others to test positive were all players.
Georgia Rugby Union said the players were recovering and were due to leave South Africa on Sunday.
Maisashvili had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 despite members of both the South Africa and the British and Irish Lions squads and their backroom staffs receiving jabs ahead of their series.
Georgia team spokeswoman Tatia Beriashvili confirmed Maisashvili was on a ventilator.
“Everything is being done to improve Levan Maisashvili’s condition,” the Georgia Rugby Union said.
“He has been moved to one of South Africa’s top-level clinics, which is equipped with the most up-to-date medical equipment to manage COVID patients.”
Maisashvili’s illness underlined the dangers of the decision by both South Africa and the Lions to go ahead with the tour while the country experiences a winter wave of COVID-19 cases.
The current wave in South Africa is the worst of the entire pandemic, with infections and deaths both spiking, especially in the Johannesburg region where the Georgia squad was based.
Although it’s not clear when and where Maisashvili was infected, Georgia announced it had six cases in its squad days after playing South Africa, which had already reported cases in its squad ahead of the game.
The outbreak eventually caused the cancellation of a planned second Test between the teams.
South Africa’s squad has had more than a dozen players and backroom staff test positive for the virus since they started preparing late last month.
The Briti sh and Irish Lions have also had positive virus tests in their group.
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