Jaja Santiago for Saitama

FILE – Jaja Santiago for Saitama. AGEO MEDICS PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Living during COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing but stressful, and living alone in a foreign country makes things even harder.

Jaja Santiago, though, tried her best to adjust to the new normal while playing in Japan, thanks to the help of her team and the V.League.

Saitama’s star blocker admitted that she was afraid of the circumstances that the pandemic brought about but the league and her own club had stringent measures to make sure that none of the players and coaches get infected.

“I was scared of course because you don’t know where you’ll get the virus,” said Santiago, who recently helped the Ageo Medics to the V.Cup title, in Filipino during a Zoom conversation Thursday.

“But I’m happy because my team has been protective of us and even the whole V.League administers us a PCR test every month.”

“You also have to log-in to an app, One Tap Sports, where you’ll put everything you’ve done during the day.”

It also helped that the Ageo Medics are under healthcare company Ageo Medical Group.

The 6-foot-5 middle blocker added that the V.League placed certain measures even during practice. Coaching staff and other personnel were required to wear masks and the team only travels with each other to games while wearing face masks, face shields, and gloves.

It wasn’t just the league and team’s protocols that made Santiago feel safe as Japanese people, she said, are very much aware of other’s well-being that they are already wearing face masks while sick even before the pandemic.

“What I felt in Japan was it’s as if there was no pandemic. You will feel that you are really safe there because the government, for example there are 700 or 800 cases in a day, will impose a lockdown immediately on the areas where there are a lot of cases,” said Santiago.

“You know that you’re being protected and the people themselves are aware of it and they make sure that you won’t get infected.”

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