THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) reported its first suspected coronavirus case in the league’s tournament “bubble” at Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga.

In a statement on Wednesday, the PBA said a referee tested positive for the virus after undergoing a swab test on Monday, the result of which came out on Tuesday night.

The person under monitoring was tested along with 27 others, but was the only one who yielded a positive result.

The referee was said to be showing no symptoms of the coronavirus, but was already taken to the quarantine facility in Capas, Tarlac, for observation.

It was the fourth coronavirus test for the referee, second inside the bubble, aside from the two tests before entering Clark, all of which came out negative.

The person under monitoring was set for another test Wednesday to ascertain the findings and would be keenly observed.

First and second layer contacts of the referee have been identified and have been asked to isolate themselves. They will be retested on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The PBA moved to reassure that there was nothing to worry about and it was dealing with the situation accordingly.

“There is a strict protocol in place and it has not been breached. All the risks are being evaluated by the PBA medical team, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Department of Health (DoH),” the PBA statement read.

As of this writing, all the games scheduled for Wednesday were given the thumbs-up to proceed but would be conducted under stricter monitoring than what had been already in place.

Also, as part of the safety protocols, all activities of the players (swimming, gym, jogging, etc.) were temporarily suspended to give way to sanitization in light of the turn of events.

“Rest assured that the safety and security of all is our paramount concern. Routine disinfection, wearing of masks, face shields and social/physical distancing are strictly being implemented, as well as an effective contact tracing procedure is in place to maintain the safety and integrity of the bubble,” the PBA statement ended.

The PBA reopened its coronavirus pandemic-hit season on Oct. 11 after getting government nod under a bubble setup in Clark City, where all the participants are holed up for the duration of the tournament, lasting at least two months. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo