More players have landed in quarantine in Melbourne after more positive COVID-19 tests were found on charter flights bringing players to Australia ahead of the Australian Open.
Officials announced on Sunday that 72 people are now in quarantine for 14 days after a passenger on a flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The Associated Press. That positive test did not come from a player, but all 58 people on the flight — which included 25 players — must now quarantine for two weeks.
Forty-seven players had already been put into quarantine after positive tests were found on two other chartered flights.
“There’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules – well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came and that was a condition on which they came,” Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said Monday, via The Associated Press. “There’s no special treatment here ... because a virus doesn’t treat you specially.”
47 players had already entered quarantine
Two flights on Saturday, one coming from Los Angeles and another from Abu Dhabi, had an aircrew member and a non-player passenger test positive, which sent everybody on both flights into the quarantine — per Australian protocol.
The country’s borders are currently closed. Australia made special exemptions for approximately 1,200 players, officials and staff to come in on chartered flights for the tournament.
All flights are set at just 25 percent capacity, and players are allowed to train in a special supervised environment for five hours a day after returning a negative coronavirus test inside the country.
It’s unclear who is in quarantine, however two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, former U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens and Canadian star Bianca Andreescu are among them.
Players in quarantine will not be eligible to practice until the end of their two-week period, which will leave them about only a week to prepare before the tournament kicks off Feb. 8.
Though it’s not an ideal situation for players, tournament director Craig Tiley said everyone was warned ahead of time about protocol and the “significant risk” involved.
“Now we have to manage an environment over the next 14 days for those who won’t be able to practice,” Tiley said, via The Associated Press. “It’s a tough situation. We’ve got to do whatever we can to make it as fair as possible for those players that are in lockdown.”
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