CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – The Georgia national rugby coach was in serious condition in hospital in South Africa on Saturday after contracting COVID-19 during a series organized to help the world champion Springboks to prepare for the British and Irish Lions tour.
Levan Maisashvili has “serious lung damage and is on artificial respiration,” the Georgia Rugby Union said in a statement, after being one of six members of the Georgian tour to test positive for the virus after playing against the ‘South Africa in a match in Pretoria on July 2. The other five people who tested positive were all gamers.
Maisashvili had not been vaccinated, Georgian team spokeswoman Tatia Beriashvili wrote in an email to The Associated Press, despite the fact that members of the South African Lions teams and British and Irish people and their staff behind the scenes have been vaccinated.
“Everything is being done to improve the state of health of Levan Maisashvili,” said the Georgia Rugby Union. “He was transferred to one of South Africa‘s top clinics, which is equipped with the most modern medical equipment to handle COVID patients. “
Maisashvili disease has highlighted the dangers of South Africa and the Lions’ decision to continue the tour as the country experiences a winter wave of virus cases.
The South African rugby team has had more than a dozen players and backstage staff tested positive for the virus since they started preparing at the end of last month. Some of them tested positive the week before the game against Georgia. The Lions also had positive virus tests in their group.
AP Sports writer Ken Maguire in La Rochelle, France contributed to this story.
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