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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Australian Open: Hundreds of players and officials to isolate after coronavirus case

Hotel quarantine worker in Melbourne tests positive for Covid-19

Spectators walk around Melbourne Park, the venue for the Australian Open. AP
Spectators walk around Melbourne Park, the venue for the Australian Open. AP

The Australian Open was again thrown into chaos on Wednesday with up to 600 players and officials told to isolate and get tested after a worker at a hotel they are staying in contracted Covid-19.

Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said the man last worked at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne on January 29 and anyone there was considered a casual contact.

More than 1,000 players, coaches and officials jetted into largely virus-free Australia last month for 14 days' lockdown ahead of the opening Grand Slam of the year.

The Grand Hyatt was one of the designated hotels used.

"There is a number of about 500, 600 people who are players and officials and others who are casual contacts," Andrews said in a late-night press conference.

"They will be isolating until they get a negative test and that work will be done tomorrow."

He did not expect the precautionary move to impact the Australian Open, which is scheduled to start on Monday.

However, all competition at six Australian Open tuneup events scheduled for Thursday was called off.

While most players were allowed out to train during their lockdown, 72 were confined to their Melbourne hotel rooms 24 hours a day after eight positive Covid-19 cases were detected on the charter flights that brought them to Australia.

Aggressive restrictions on incoming travel have helped keep the coronavirus at bay in Australia, making it one of the countries that is still able to have fans at sports events.

Andrews said tennis was not the most important issue.

"I must say that is important to us but the issues are much broader and that is about public health and public safety," he said, but added: "This is one case, there's no need for people to panic."

Updated: February 3, 2021 07:48 PM

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