Major League Baseball didn't test any of its players for COVID-19 before they flew from the Dominican Republic to Miami, according to Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post.
Many of the players on board the two charter flights later tested positive for the virus. Some of them were asymptomatic at the time of the flight but then tested positive during intake screening with their respective teams, the league confirmed to Dougherty.
Over 160 people - including players and team staff members - boarded the charter flights from the Dominican to Miami on July 1.
"Testing 160 asymptomatic players in the Dominican Republic would have diverted substantial resources away from the Dominican health care system, where the availability of laboratory equipment is scarce, and would have required an exception to the country's criteria for testing, which was not something we were prepared to do," MLB said in a statement.
Six members of the Washington Nationals, including star outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles, took the flights and are now isolating. Five of them are doing so out of precaution, while the sixth tested positive upon arriving at camp, a source told Dougherty.
The league chartered the flights to safely transport Dominican-based players to the United States for the beginning of summer camps. Players were advised to arrive at the airport three hours early, at which time they had their temperatures taken and were asked about possible symptoms before boarding, according to a league memo obtained by The Post.
Many players across the league have voiced frustration with MLB's COVID-19 testing during the early stages of summer camp. Some teams have been forced to temporarily halt workouts and keep some players away from camps while they await their test results.
MLB's 60-game regular season is scheduled to begin on July 23.
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