Australia Open 2021 organisers got a rude shock on Saturday as three people tested positive for corona virus on two charter flights which were ferrying the players and coaches from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi to Melbourne for the season-opening Grand Slam tournament.
15 charter flights have been organised to bring 1200 players, coaches, and officials to Melbourne for the Australia Open 2021; at Melbourne Park starting February 8. A member of the flight’s crew coming in from Los Angeles; and an employee working for the Australian Open tested positive for COVID-19. The 24 players who were onboard the aircraft have been put into self-isolation; in their hotel rooms in Melbourne, as a result.
Another flight from Abu Dhabi saw a non-player passenger test positive for the virus, prompting the organisers; to usher 23 players into hotel quarantine.
The isolated players will not be able to leave their hotel rooms for 14 days; until they are medically cleared. Other players will also have to quarantine for 14 days but will be allowed to train under strict conditions and with supervision for up to 5 hours a day.
Victoria State’s health departments said in a statement that “An aircrew member and Australian open participants who are not a player have been transferred to a health hotel following positive test results for COVID-19. 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 remaining flight crew all tested negative and were permitted to fly out without passengers directly to their home port.”
Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up who tested negative for COVID-19 after having two positive tests, and 2-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka were reported by local media to be among group of players who arrived on the flight from LAX.
This is the second big jolt suffered by the tournament officials after the news Andy. Murray testing positive for COVID-19 was confirmed earlier this week.