The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) decided to send home one coach from the Tokyo Olympics delegation who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, July 22.
According to POC president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, the coach will undergo another round of testing, but the national Olympic committee is sending him home regardless of the result.
"There will be another confirmatory test. We decided to let go, whether positive or negative," Tolentino confirmed to Rappler.
The POC did not reveal the identity and sports team of the coach.
“To further mitigate the risks to the Philippine team, we have decided to separate the coach from the delegation," said POC secretary-general Edwin Gastanes.
The coach will undergo his fourth test as he is currently running a fever. He first yielded a positive test, which prompted his isolation, but the confirmatory test turned out negative.
His third test the following day, though, yielded a positive result.
“The coach must have gotten it on the plane or at the airport during the incubation period that’s why it didn’t show in the first two tests,” explained Tolentino as the coach had two negative RT-PCR tests to show at Narita airport.
But Tolentino is confident that this will not affect the morale of the Philippine delegation.
“Maybe, to the national sports association involved, they’re affected because they are one coach down, but to the rest of the Team Philippines, I don’t see their morale going down because of this. Everyone is in high spirits and raring to go to battle for the country,” said Tolentino.
The POC will continue to follow the protocols set by the organizing committee and will see if the close contacts of the COVID-19 positive coach will be isolated at this point as they have yielded negative results as of Thursday.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics enforced strict COVID-19 protocols, including daily saliva testing for the athletes, officials, and coaches who are residing in the athletes' village. (FAST FACTS: Pandemic protocols at the Tokyo Olympics)
Those arriving in Tokyo, including athletes, officials, coaches and the media, will need to show two negative RT-PCR test results before proceeding into the host city.
Olympic organizers have released a "playbook", which lays out the rules on how athletes should move between competition venues, training centers, and their accommodations. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.