SINGAPORE: Two cornermen slated to be part of mixed martial arts promotion firm ONE Championship's live sporting event on Friday (Oct 30) tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Responding on Thursday to CNA's queries sent on Wednesday, ONE Championship and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) confirmed that the two cornermen tested positive as part of screening protocols for the event.
The joint statement did not name the affected individuals or who they are cornermen for.
Both men had tested negative for COVID-19 before flying into Singapore from the US and Russia, and tested negative for the coronavirus upon their arrival as well.
However, they tested positive on Tuesday and serological tests were conducted the next day to "determine if their infection is current", the statement said.
The serological tests came back positive for both men.
The Ministry of Health "has determined that these are past infection cases, following epidemiological investigations", said ONE and STB.
"Recovered cases may continue to shed non-viable, non-infectious viral fragments for weeks or even months after infection, which may lead to positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results."
Both men would be undergoing PCR tests again on Thursday as an "added measure" and will only be allowed to participate in the event if their results are negative, ONE and STB said.
"These tests are in line with ONE’s protocol and the Singapore Government’s regulations for the event: that all foreign-based athletes and their production crew must be tested four times (1 pre departure in country of origin, 1 on-arrival, 1 pre-fight and 1 post-fight).
"They must also remain in isolation until they receive a negative test result, after which they will follow a strictly controlled and pre-approved itinerary."
During a bout, a cornerman provides assistance for an MMA fighter. Their duties typically include applying ice to reduce swelling and making sure the fighter is sufficiently hydrated.
NOT PARTICIPATING AS "ADDITIONAL SAFETY PRECAUTION"
The two men arrived in Singapore between Oct 22 and 23, said ONE Championship on Friday in response to further queries.
On whether they came into contact with anyone in their teams, ONE Championship said: "Contact tracing was done per pilot and government procedure. The result of the contact tracing determined no other parties were required to quarantine or withdraw from the event."
It added that the men have been discharged from hospital and are not participating in Friday's event "as an additional safety precaution".
UP TO 250 SPECTATORS
Friday's event, titled ONE: Inside the Matrix, is expected to have up to 250 spectators in attendance, according to ONE Championship. It will also be among the first to pilot the use of COVID-19 antigen rapid tests (ARTs).
ARTs will be used for pre-event testing, which can return “fairly accurate” results within about half an hour, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Oct 20.
On Saturday, the director of Sports at Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Ong Ling Lee said that foreign athletes and production crew who are taking part in the event have to undergo mandatory COVID-19 tests "at various junctures", including before departure, upon arrival in Singapore, as well as before and after fights.
Local athletes and ringside crew will also be subjected to mandatory tests before and after fights.
Additionally, all fans attending the ONE: Inside the Matrix event, will be required to undergo the COVID-19 test and produce a valid negative ART certificate before they are allowed into the event.
"As ART is by appointment only, attendees are required to book a slot at any of the designated clinics before heading down (to the event) to avoid crowding," said Ms Ong Ling Lee, director of Sports at STB.
"Individuals who test positive on ART will be required to undergo a PCR confirmatory swab to determine their COVID-19 status."
She said the tourism board has worked with ONE to "refine and implement a rigorous set of safe management measures".
These measures include the mandatory use of the TraceTogether app and/or token, and a safe seating plan based on the Government's safety measures.