Egan Bernal has tested negative for Covid-19 coronavirus after self-isolating on his return to Colombia from Europe. The 2019 Tour de France winner left his European base of Andorra last week, arriving in Colombia on March 14.
Bernal was interviewed briefly by ESPN Deportes last Saturday as he left the airport, where he noted that there were few checks in place on arrivals. Colombia has since suspended the arrival of international flights and declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"A few days ago, I arrived from Europe and isolated myself in my house as the authorities say," Bernal wrote. "After a few days I contacted the Ministry of Health, since I came from an area with a high risk of contagion. Yesterday they came to my house to check me and the result was NEGATIVE for Covid-19."
In the past week, Bernal has posted social media images of himself riding on a smart trainer at home in Zipaquira, as well as messages encouraging social distancing and enhanced hygiene. On Friday, he confirmed on Twitter that he has been tested for Covid-19 as he had returned from Europe, which is now the epicentre of the pandemic.
"I will continue in the same way at home," Bernal wrote. "I will continue to continue the period of quarantine and support my country. I want to invite my Colombian people not to take to the streets if it is not necessary. Not everybody has the same benefits as others (that's clear) but if possible, stay at home.
"To all the people who are working at this time day and night to control this situation, I want to thank them enormously from all of Colombia. This is braver than winning a Tour de France and you are national heroes right now."
Bernal has raced only on home roads in 2020, overcoming a crash to place second in the road race at the Colombian national championships. He also played third in the time trial and then finished 4th at the Tour Colombia 2.1.
The 23-year-old was due to continue his season at Paris-Nice, but Team Ineos withdrew from racing in March due to the tragic death of directeur sportif Nicolas Portal and the risks posed by competing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hace ya unos días llegue de Europa, y me aislé en mi casa como dicen las autoridades, después de unos días contacté a @MinSaludCol ya que venía de una zona de alto riesgo de contagio. Ayer vinieron a mi casa a hacerme el control y el resultado es NEGATIVO al Covid 19.March 20, 2020