E-sports: Brazilian player tests positive for Covid-19 but M2 World Championship to go on

The M2 World Championship will see 12 teams compete for a prize purse of US$300,000 (S$397,710). PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - The M2 World Championship, a major e-sports tournament scheduled to take place in Singapore next week, will proceed as planned even though one of the overseas participants tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week and two more were confirmed on Thursday (Jan 14).

The Brazilian player was identified only as Case 59238 in the Ministry of Health's nightly update of Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

And in its regular update on the situation, the Ministry of Health said last night that Cases 59290 and 59295 also tested positive.

On Thursday, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) game developer Moonton, organisers of the Jan 18-24 M2 World Championship, said the player had tested positive at the end of his 14-day stay-home notice (SHN), adding: "He had taken a Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and tested negative before departure for Singapore.

"With his positive test result for Covid-19, close contacts of this participant have been identified and are currently serving their quarantine in a dedicated facility."

Brazil has the third highest Covid-19 infection rate globally, behind the United States and India, with over 8.2 million coronavirus cases and over 206,000 deaths.

A new strain of the coronavirus is believed to have originated from the South American country, but little is known about it.

As part of the protocols for foreign athletes and crew taking part in the event, all overseas-based participants were required to be tested before they departed their country.

They were placed on a 14-day SHN upon arrival and underwent a mandatory Covid-19 PCR test towards the end of the SHN.

Participants who receive a negative test result after their SHN are allowed to participate in the event taking place at Shangri-La Hotel.

The event is co-organised by Moonton and the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association, with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The M2 World Championship will see 12 teams compete for a prize purse of US$300,000 (S$398,000). Two local and 10 foreign teams each have five players.

Apart from Brazil, the other overseas-based teams are from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Japan and Russia.

Indonesian team Alter Ego had to make a change to their roster after one of their players Ahmad "Maungzy" Abdurrahman tested positive for Covid-19, with William "Yam" Widjaja replacing him before the team departed for Singapore on Jan 1.

Singapore's Eugene "Kayzeepi" Kong, 25, said that he and his teammates are not worried about the latest developments.

"We are quite confident that the M2 organisers are prepared for this, and will do what it takes to keep all players safe," RSG's MLBB captain added.

"That being said, I'm glad that our manager and team will be with us on-site and off-site during the tournament, and we can go to them if there are any changes or adjustments at the venue grounds. I have reminded my team to ensure that we sanitise our hands frequently and observe safe distancing guidelines strictly as well."

The M2 World Championship will be the second live sports event in Singapore to welcome overseas-based athletes.

Mixed martial arts promotion One Championship has been working with the STB to stage several events here since Oct 9, which have all featured foreign-based fighters.

One's events are part of a pilot project the Government hopes will help identify a model that can be widely implemented so that more large-scale events can resume safely in Singapore.

Despite there being several positive cases involving overseas-based athletes and staff in three of One's four events, those individuals were isolated and the shows' programmes went on as planned.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.