Bootcamp cut short as players test positive for COVID ahead of TI10

It’s a ticking timebomb at the International 10 bootcamp as multiple players have tested positive for COVID-19. As we walk through the pre-TI10 COVID-19 crisis at players’ bootcamp, perhaps the main concern we have is how will this impact TI10?

Team Aster and Invictus Gaming players test positive

Team Aster shared that three players and their coach have tested positive for COVID-19. Namely, Du “Monet” Peng, Lin “Xxs” Jing, Ye “Borax” Zhibiao, and the coach, Cheng “Mad” Han. While these players are currently undergoing self-isolation, there were no further details on whether the players experienced any symptoms.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Invictus Gaming’s Thiay “JT-” Jun Wen, who experienced fever on September 29. According to IG, all members tested negative when they first arrived in Bucharest, Romania on the previous day.

There are still scarce information in terms of cluster size and how many players or staff are impacted by this. Hopefully, the rate of cases remains to only these players, but we might experience more cases soon. We will update the situation accordingly.

Team Aster player on the COVID-19 situation

Is this really TI?” – Team Aster support player, Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng took it to social media to express his disappointment on the lack of COVID-19 precautions and standard operating procedures (SOP) at the bootcamp.

According to LaNm, bootcamp was provided and only that, whereas testing, food and water were not provided for the team, so they had to buy it outside the hotel themselves. Furthermore, people around the hotel aren’t wearing masks despite the rising COVID-19 cases in Romania. Bars and restaurants seemingly have large crowds as well.

Now, LaNm justified criticizing PGL as the tournament organizer as they insisted every team arrive early because “bootcamp will be provided.” To clarify, PGL has asked non-Western teams to bear and manage the cost of flights to bootcamp in Romania, ahead of TI10.

On the contrary, some would disagree with LaNm’s critique because PGL has informed team orgs themselves to manage for their own players’ wellbeing during bootcamp. After all, TI10 will only begin on Oct 7, so that’s when Valve and PGL have to bear responsibilities for the players’ wellbeing.

PSG.LGD take COVID-19 measures seriously

Teams at the bootcamp can take a good example from PSG.LGD, whose measures might just pay off. According to a Chinese insider, PSG.LGD has taken cautious measures, such as ensuring none of their players left their rooms, keeping air conditions offed, and strictly avoided contact with any party.

While it’s easy to say that the teams should have taken their own measures like PSG.LGD, such COVID-19 cases wouldn’t have blown out of proportions if there was a two-week pre-event bubble for the teams arriving in Bucharest.

Why no serious measures were taken for the boot camp remains a mystery.

The impact on TI10 and overall competition?

There is a silver lining for the early arrival and detection of COVID-19 cases. It’s certainly better than having to deal with unprecedented COVID-19 positive cases in the midst of group stage and playoffs. Whereby, teams with infected players, might have to play with a handicap, and plausibly miss out on the $40 million prize pool. The bootcamp period may not feel very safe since the hotel is open to the general public. And Team Aster amongst other impacted teams may not have the most effective bootcamp experience. However, tackling the situation early on might ensure the main event goes more smoothly, especially considering all parties will now be extra diligent.

As of now, most of the bootcamp period for teams has been cut short. We will have to wait for the International 10 bubble, and see how it holds up when the event unfolds on Oct 7. We can also expect Valve and PGL to sterilize the player booths in-between playoff matches. Perhaps cautious players might even wear their masks while competing as well. While we can’t rule out the possibilities of COVID-19 cluster occurring at TI10, lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that no TI10 team gets affected performance-wise.

For many of us who are at the comfort (and safety) of our homes, we can still feel the energy and hype as the International 10 creeps closer. The matches and TI10 odds might be adjusted before the event goes live.

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