Dota 2 TI10 Under Threat Again, After Covid-19 Soars In Romania And Players Test Positive
Dota 2's The International 10, the most lucrative esports event in history, is under threat once again, as the global pandemic has prevented a range of hurdles just over a week away from its kick-off.
The event, worth a groundbreaking $40,000,000, faces the harsh pressures of the pandemic once again, and could be postponed for the third time. TI10 was proposed to go ahead in August 2020, but was put on hold because of the pandemic, much like other events at the time. However, Valve opted to roll over the prize pool to the following year, rather than play it online.
Having faced yet another delay as the world tentatively opened its doors again, The Internation 10 has now been given the green light to start in Bucharest, Romania, on October 7 - although an amber light has been flashed after a spike in coronavirus cases in the country has filtered through into the closed bubbles, infecting some players.
Valve has proposed that a collective bubble is to be formed ahead of the competition on October 3, however, as teams have arrived in Bucharest early to adjust to the time zones and to get some international practice in, one team, in particular, has seen coronavirus rip through their camp.
Team Aster, of China, has seen three members of their roster (Du "Monet" Peng, Lin "Xxs" Jing and Ye "Borax" Zhibiao) test positive for the virus, alongside head coach Cheng "Mad" Han and an alleged four members of the video and production team.
Team Aster are staying in the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel, alongside all Chinese teams competing in the event. The rest of Team Aster's team are now self-isolating, whilst the three team members now face a race against time for their recovery and a negative Covid-19 PCR test to come back.
Invictus Gaming's Thiay "JT-" Jun also tested positive for the virus, although the rest of the roster has returned negative tests since then.
Since dipping to a low of 26 new cases on July 10, the number of cases in Romania, per day, is now at an all-time high. As of September 30, the Romanian Government reported 12,032 new cases of the coronavirus, which calls into question whether The International 10 should go ahead.
TI10 is still expected to go ahead with a fully packed-out crowd at the Bucharest National Arena, which holds 55,000 seats. All supporters will be mandatorily masked and must be fully vaccinated.
With less than a week left until TI10 kicks off, Valve must now deal with how Invictus and Team Aster will be able to field a team, as well as ensuring the virus doesn't affect any further teams.