Filipino team Neon Esports announced on Tuesday (30 March) that they have ruled out substitute player Rafael "Rappy" Palo for the remainder of the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major after he was found to have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Neon explained that they have ruled out Rappy as a precautionary measure, as he was previously tested for the coronavirus four times and all came back negative.
"Rappy tested before he came to camp, was tested again before he was allowed to fly, was tested when he landed, and was also tested at the hotel. All four tests were negative. Rappy's flights were booked separately to the rest of the team," Neon Esports CEO Robert Campbell said in a statement.
— Neon Esports 🇵🇭 (@NeonEsportsDota) March 30, 2021
Neon recruited Rappy after the team's carry player, John Anthony "Natsumi" Vargas, was declared unfit to travel to the Singapore Major due to undisclosed health issues. With Rappy out for the rest of the Major, Neon will continue to play with Singaporean player Yang "Deth" Wu Heng as his replacement for the remainder of the tournament.
"Since we do not believe in giving up, we have found a replacement...While this situation is far from ideal, we will do our best to make the playoffs," added Campbell.
Neon finished day one of the Singapore Major Group Stage at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 record. The Filipino squad is now fighting to avoid elimination and advance to the Major Playoffs.
Other players miss Singapore Major due to COVID-19, health problems
Aside from Natsumi and Rappy, two teams and four other players have also missed out on the Singapore Major due to positive coronavirus tests, health problems, and other issues.
CIS team Natus Vincere and South American team Beastcoast had to withdraw from the Major after more of their players contracted the coronavirus and risked exposure to the rest of their teammates.
Quincy Crew's Arif "MSS" Anwar, and Team Nigma's Ivan "MinD_ControL" Ivanov are both out of the tournament after they tested positive for the coronavirus. T1's Carlo "Kuku" Palad also did not make it to Singapore due to undisclosed health problems, though his team has not confirmed whether the reason behind his absence was a positive coronavirus test or not.
The Singapore Major's rules state that players who have tested positive for the coronavirus prior to the event, even if they were able to recover shortly before the team's departure to Singapore, will be unable to play in order to minimise risk of exposure for other players.
Teams participating in the Major have already begun to arrive in Singapore. Foreign teams coming to the republic will not need to quarantine for 14 days, instead being required to take a COVID-19 test and undergo a 48-hour isolation period upon their arrival to the country, and follow a strictly-controlled itinerary during their stay.
In addition, teams that have been eliminated from the Singapore Major are required to leave immediately in order to minimise the risk of further exposure to them and the remaining teams in the tournament.
The Singapore Major is scheduled to run until 4 April. The event will feature 18 teams from the DPC's six regional leagues competing for the lion's share of a US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC point pool.
For everything you need to know about the ONE Esports Singapore Major, check here.