Australian Open in chaos again as players, officials isolate after Covid case

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The Australian Open was thrown into chaos on Wednesday when up to 600 players and officials were told to isolate and get themselves tested after a worker at a hotel they are staying in was tested covid-19 positive.

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

With over 1000 players, coaches and officials jetted to largely virus-free Australia last month for 14 days lockdown before the opening Grand Slam of the year. The Great Hyatt was one of the allocated 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 added.

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

“It may have an impact on tomorrow’s play in the lead-up events. But at this stage, there’s no impact to the tournament proper,” he told.

Currently, six ATP and WTA tournaments are being played at Melbourne Park to get players fit for the upcoming Grand Slam.

While most players were allowed to train during their lockdown, 72 were isolated to their hotel rooms in Melbourne after eight covid-19 positive cases were detected on the charter flight that brought them to Australia.

Strict and stringent restrictions on incoming travel have helped to keep covid-19 at bay in Australia.

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

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