Australian Open Confirms Cases Of COVID-19 In Quarantine
Nine active cases of COVID-19 among those in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open in the group of players, and support staff isolating in Melbourne hotels has been confirmed by tournament officials.
Health officials previously said they were investigating some positive tests for evidence of “viral shedding”, where people who have had the virus continue to shed non-infectious remnants after they have recovered.
Most of the 970 people in the Australian Open quarantine hotels have entered their second week of the 14-day isolation period with the first arrivals due to be freed from lockdown on Friday.
While most have been allowed out to train for five hours a day, around 72 have been confined to their rooms after the positive cases on the charter flights that brought them to Australia.
Four players were among the cases initially reported as being associated with the tennis but only Spain’s Paula Badosa has confirmed that she tested positive.
Badosa’s quarantine period restarted when the test result was confirmed, meaning the 23-year-old will have almost no time to prepare for the February 8 start of the Australian Open tournament.
Three of the nine cases of COVID-19 linked to the Australian Open were on Saturday revealed to be for the more transmissible coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom.
Tournament director Craig Tiley told players in a letter on Saturday evening that the environment was not conducive to an easing of restrictions.
“After consultation with many of you, we have postponed the planned expansion of the cohorts,” Tiley wrote.
“Having more people in your cohort is no extra risk to the local community, because you are all in quarantine. But we want to minimise the risk to each of you and that’s why we have delayed the expansion and will continue to assess daily.”
A rash of complaints from frustrated players on social media in the first few days of lockdown has calmed after some of their fellow competitors urged them to show respect for the efforts the people of Melbourne had made to control the virus.
The state of Victoria, which contains Australia’s second-largest city, endured one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns last year.
On Sunday the state recorded an 18th straight day with no local transmissions, while Australia as a whole has not reported a case in the community for nine of the last 10 days.