AUSTRALIAN Open In Covid Chaos At Quarantine Hotel just Four Days Before the Tournament
A single positive case of coronavirus at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne has resulted in the Australian Open organisers having to place around 600 players, officials, and support staff into quarantine, at around 9pm local time on Wednesday, only four days before the start of the prestigious Grand Slam tournament.
Daniel Andrews, the Premier of the state of Victoria, said that an unnamed 26-year-old volunteer firefighter who had been working as a resident support officer as part of the tournament tested positive for the virus and immediately put restrictions in place for its 6.7 million inhabitants “through an abundance of caution”.
The unnamed man last worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel, which is one of the state’s ‘quarantine hotels’ on January 29, and tested negative for the virus at the end of his shift that day. However, he subsequently developed symptoms and tested positive on Wednesday, meaning the other hotel guests were classed as “close contacts” and must give a negative test result before they can leave isolation.
Mr Andrews said his actions were also taken because of the possibility of the case being caused by a new strain of the coronavirus, although he said the genomic sequencing to establish that was not completed yet.
The Australian Open is due to begin on Monday, February 8, and Mr Andrews, when asked by a reporter if this was a disaster for the tournament, said, “I wouldn’t describe it in those terms. We’ve got one case. We’re going to work very hard to keep numbers as low as we possibly can. Decisions have been made, and we’ll proceed as we can next week”.
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