More players in lockdown ahead of Aussie Open
A further 25 tennis players were forced into quarantine in Australia ahead of the season’s first tennis major after another positive coronavirus test on a charter flight, taking the total number of competitors isolating in hotel rooms to 72 yesterday.
The positive test came from a passenger who was not a member of the playing contingent, Australian Open organisers said. But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players on the flight from Doha, Qatar that arrived in Melbourne on Saturday, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for two weeks.
Organisers had previously announced that 47 players had to quarantine after four COVID-19 cases emerged from two other charter flights bringing players, staff, officials and media to Australia.
Some players have expressed anger at being classified as close contacts merely for being on board those flights with people who later tested positive and, therefore, forced into a harsher quarantine than the broader group of players who’ll be allowed out of their rooms to practice for up to five hours per day.
But local health authorities have said all players were warned of the risks in advance. And any player considering bending the rules has been warned. Breach quarantine regulations and there’s the prospect of heavy fines or being moved to a more secure quarantine complex with police stationed at their doors.
Three cases were announced Saturday and Victoria state’s COVID-19 quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar told a news conference yesterday that there’d been a fourth positive test involving a person flying in for the Australian Open. So far, none has involved a player.
Three cases emerged from the flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, officials said, including a member of the air crew, a coach and the latest being a member of the TV broadcasting team. The other case was a coach who took the charter flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne.
All four had tested negative before boarding their flights to Australia. All four have now been transferred to a health hotel.
Sylvain Bruneau, who coaches 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, posted on social media to say he was on the flight from Abu Dhabi and had tested positive.
Two-time Open champion Victoria Azarenka and the 2014 US Open runner-up, Kei Nishikori, were reported to be on the flight from Los Angeles. All passengers from both of those flights are in hard lockdown.