The discovery of a new COVID-19 strain in South Africa has cast a pall over India’s planned tour of the African country. The variety, dubbed omicron by the World Health Organization, has been discovered to be more contagious than prior variants. As a result, instances have increased in various African countries. The most pressing question is whether the full-fledged tour will proceed according to plan.

The tour, which begins on December 17, will feature three Tests, as many ODIs, and four T20Is. Arun Dhumal, the treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said the trip is still on track as long as the situation in South Africa does not worsen after the new type was discovered there.

On December 8 or 9, Team India will fly to Johannesburg on a chartered flight. Dhumal is certain that the bio-bubble atmosphere that South Africa has developed will keep the athletes safe. “We stand with them (as they cope with this threat); the only difference is that we will not jeopardize the safety of the players.” Right now, we have a chartered airplane arranged to Johannesburg, and the players will be in a bio bubble,” Dhumal was reported by NDTV as saying.

“We’ll do everything we can to avoid jeopardizing the series, but if the situation worsens and jeopardizes our players’ safety and health, we’ll see. Finally, whatever the Government of India advises, we would follow it,” the BCCI treasurer stated.

To keep their residents safe, various nations throughout the world have enforced travel bans from South Africa. However, the Indian government has thus far failed to do so. Nonetheless, according to the Indian government’s new criteria, South Africa is one of the ‘at risk’ countries.

Notably, India A is also in South Africa at the moment, and their matches have so far been unaffected by external factors. With less than a week until the senior team departs, it remains to be seen whether the BCCI will make a harsh decision.