As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc worldwide, the Highlanders have issued a plea to its fans and local community as they prepare to return home from Argentina.

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The side had their clash against the Jaguares at Estadio Jose Amalfitani cancelled on Sunday (NZT) amid concerns regarding COVID-19.

However, the Dunedin franchise was unable to return to New Zealand before new travel restrictions imposed by the New Zealand government were enforced on Monday.

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Subsequently, members of the club’s touring party who travelled to Buenos Aires will begin a two-week self-isolation period upon their return to Dunedin on Tuesday morning.

As the Highlanders come to terms with how life will look like over the next fortnight, the club has released a statement urging fans and Dunedin residents not to panic following their arrival.

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“The travelling team are on their way back from Argentina and will arrive in Dunedin on Tuesday where they will begin their 14-day self-isolation,” the statement reads.

“Our priority at this point in time is ensuring the team arrives back safely and the players, team management and their partners and families have the information and support necessary to help them through this time.

“Please note that not all of the squad were travelling, and we have another 20 players who are not required to self-isolate so please don’t be alarmed if you see them in public. This includes our All Blacks Aaron Smith and Liam Coltman who returned early.”

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Speaking to Stuff, New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association boss Rob Nicol outlined what self-isolation will means for players and management over the coming weeks.

“What we’re advising the guys is that making sure you’re not in front of someone for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of two metres,” Nichol said.

“The guidelines at the minute say one metre but I think that’s where it’s going to end up.

“And then stay away from cafes and shops and public gatherings.

“If you want to go out and do some exercise that’s fine but it’s a run by yourself.

“If you want to go for a drive that’s fine but go by yourself.”

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