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MELBOURNE, Jan 16 — Two passengers on one of the charter flights that brought players and their entourage to Melbourne for the Australian Open have tested positive for Covid-19, officials said today.
One of them was a member of the flight crew and the other an Australian Open participant, but not a player.
All 66 passengers must now stay in their hotel rooms for the entire 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
That means players on board will not be allowed out to practise and train for the five hours each day agreed to as part of their preparation for the opening Grand Slam of the year.
According to local media, former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, America’s Sloane Stephens and Japan’s Kei Nishikori were among those on the plane, which departed from Los Angeles.
“The aircrew member and the passenger have been interviewed and transferred to a health hotel as per normal processes for positive cases,” said a spokesperson for Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria.
“All remaining 66 passengers on the flight have been determined to be close contacts. Any players and support people will not be able to leave quarantine to attend training.”
The world’s top players began arriving in Australia on Thursday for the delayed Grand Slam, which is due to start at Melbourne Park on February 8.
Most touched down in Melbourne, although the biggest names in the game, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, flew into Adelaide.
All must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, but are being allowed out for five hours daily to train in strict bio-secure bubbles.
According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, the flight was the same one that sparked controversy on Thursday when American player Tennys Sandgren tweeted he had been allowed to board despite returning a positive test.
It was his second positive result, having been diagnosed with Covid-19 in November, but Victorian state health chiefs said his infection was historical and he had “met the rigorous health criteria that has been set”.
Players were only allowed to head to Australia with proof of a negative test prior to departure, or with approval as a recovered case at the discretion of the Australian government, as with Sandgren. — AFP
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