The 34-year-old loose forward, who won two World Cups with the All Blacks over an 11-year international career, has been playing in Japan’s Top League for new club Toyota Verblitz.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing both the cancellation of the Top League and the closure of New Zealand’s borders, Read posted a picture of himself at Chubu Centrair International Airport to Instagram.
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He joins many Kiwis worldwide hoping to make it home in the midst of the outbreak, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing on Tuesday that some New Zealanders will be trapped overseas as transit hubs shut down.
Kiwis returning from overseas may be placed into quarantine, but Read is likely to beat that deadline, meaning he will be met with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period and four-week lockdown process.
While relieved to be coming back to his family, Read – who won World Rugby player of the year in 2013 and captained New Zealand to last year’s World Cup – had a serious message for his followers to obey the Government’s lockdown orders.
“Grateful to be heading home to the family, let’s #steadythespread New Zealand. Please do your part for the whole of our country,” the 127-test star said.
New Zealand will raise its COVID-19 alert level from stage 3 to stage 4 at 11:59pm on Wednesday [NZT], meaning the nation will go into a four-week lockdown period.
The country declared a state of emergency on Wednesday afternoon after 50 new cases were confirmed, bringing the nationwide total to 205.
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