Saturday, February 27, 2021

Australian Open scrambles with 160 players isolated amid hotel COVID-19 chaos

Must Read

Why AstraZeneca vaccine approval in Canada may open more doors

Canada's approval of covid Oxford-AstraZeneca and health Serum Institute of India's model to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar...

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine endorsed by U.S. advisers

U.S. photography advisers recommended a one-dose -19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday, putting country...

Alberta judge rejects injunction to maintain last-resort opioid treatment program

An emergency court docket injunction that would have maintained a last-lodge treatment for Albertans suffering from probably the most critical...
- Advertisement -

More On:

australian open

Serena Williams resumes Grand Slam chase with fans at Australian Open

Tennis player’s girlfriend complaining about hair led to death threat ‘s–t show’

American star gets creative to beat Australian Open quarantine

Australian Open’s COVID-19 outbreak is getting worse

- Advertisement -

MELBOURNE, Australia — There were 160 players back in isolation because a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Six tuneup tournaments were suspended for a day so that 507 people connected with the Australian Open could be tested for the virus.

Apparently, no worries.

Australian Open organizers weren’t deterred at all, vowing that the year’s first Grand Slam tournament would start as planned next Monday, with all the tuneup tournaments completed — somehow, tweaks are expected — between Friday and Sunday.

The one-day shutdown was triggered — the Victoria state premier, a leading health official and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley all said — out of “an abundance of caution.”

“We are absolutely confident the Australian Open is going to go ahead,” Tiley told a news conference Thursday against the backdrop of an almost deserted Melbourne Park.

In 2020, acrid smoke from deadly bushfires overshadowed the leadup to the tournament.

Everyone adapted, the show went on. Novak Djokovic won his eighth Australian Open title in late January 2020, and Sofia Kenin won her first major.

Two months later, the Formula One season had a false start when the Australian Grand Prix was called off before an official practice session could be staged. Drivers and teams had flown in from Europe. There were thousands of fans queuing up to enter Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit. Still, the government shut it down.

Tiley was confident tennis wouldn’t be sidetracked like the F1 GP.

Marketa Vondrousova waits for a COVID test on Feb. 4, 2021EPA

“The event that we have planned and the lead-in events — we’re absolutely confident it’s going to go ahead,” Tiley said.

and an order of play for Friday released sometime later. The draw for the Australian was pushed back almost 24 hours to Friday, sometime in the mid-afternoon.

Uncertainty is the only certainty for players and the tennis tours.

The Australian Open chartered 17 flights and used three hotels in Melbourne for the bulk of the players to quarantine for 14 days and had other secure accommodation and facilities in Adelaide, South Australia state, for some of the biggest stars, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Of those, 72 players were forced into hard lockdown after passengers on their flights later returned positive tests for the virus. Unlike the bulk of the players, they weren’t allowed out for five hours of supervised daily practice during quarantine.

All players were tested daily during quarantine and all were cleared before the tuneup tournaments began this week.

Some got a surprise notification before midnight.

Organizers were in touch with 507 people quickly asking them to isolate and giving instructions on how to undergo testing soon after Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews held a news conference at 10:30 p.m.

16-29 were immediately notified that when they got up at 9 a.m. we’d start testing, then stay in isolation until they got permission from the health authorities to leave,” Tiley said.

The other players, he said, were allowed into Melbourne Park for practice or to receive treatment.

see also

Serena Williams resumes Grand Slam chase with fans at Australian Open

Serena Williams’ long bid to tie the Grand Slam record…

Some took up the option. Among them, John Millman had an afternoon hit on Court 16.

He used up all his time, giving those waiting for the court some regular, friendly updates, “Five more minutes. One more game. One more point!”

He finished in a blustery breeze strong enough to knock over some potted trees dotted around for decoration.

And that also could be a problem. The forecast is for wind and rain, possibly a thunderstorm on Friday for Melbourne. That could play havoc with an already overcrowded schedule.

Not even that kind of forecast concerned Tiley.

“We are full steam ahead on planning what we’ve planning all along for this event,” he said.

Earlier, the state’s deputy chief health officer, Allen Cheng, had explained the rationale for the sudden testing.

“We think the risk to other guests at the hotel, so tennis players and their accompanying staff, is relatively low because they were in the rooms at the time as opposed to staff who were outside the rooms,” Cheng told a news conference.

So far, there’s no plans to change that.

Not only will the latest issue test the resolve of players who’ve already been through two weeks of quarantine, it will also give ammunition to critics of the government decision to allow about 1,200 people to fly in from all over the world at a time when coronavirus cases were surging in some countries but under control in Australia.

Australia has 909 deaths attributed to COVID-19, including 820 in Victoria state. Most of those were during a second deadly wave last year when a hard lockdown and overnight curfews were put in place in Melbourne.

.

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Why AstraZeneca vaccine approval in Canada may open more doors

Canada's approval of covid Oxford-AstraZeneca and health Serum Institute of India's model to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar...

More Articles Like This