PFL reschedules kickoff, excludes clubs with COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — A new date has been set for the season start of the Philippines Football League after delays due to confirmed COVID-19 cases inside the sports bubble.

From the original kickoff date of Oct. 25, the 2020 PFL season will open on Wednesday at the Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

However, only four of the six teams will be allowed to compete for now after two clubs registered a total of nine COVID-19 cases on Oct. 21. Pre-match day antigen test will also be conducted for the rest of the playing teams.

"Those two clubs who have had positive cases will not be able to play yet until they are all subject to testing," PFL Commissioner Coco Torre told CNN Philippines on Monday.

He said the two unnamed clubs with positive cases will undergo antigen testing every other day for one week. They are currently under isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside the bubble.

"Those clubs who had tested positive, they will continue testing every other day. We met with several doctors yesterday and the consensus is that antigen testing every other day until seven days, until they can play already. Most probably those clubs will miss the first match," he said.

After the announcement of cases, all players, coaches, and staff underwent antigen tests on Sunday. They all yielded negative test results.

The Department of Health, however, has pointed out that antigen tests can only detect infection on those showing COVID-19 symptoms and patients with high viral load. It cannot detect infection if the person has no symptoms or is pre-symptomatic. It advises the use of RT-PCR tests, which remains the "gold standard."

Related: DOH cautions PBA against use of antigen tests

The league released a revised schedule of matches.