24 Australian Open players confined as Covid-19 cases found after flight

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 16 (efe-epa).- Twenty-four Australian Open players have been confined to quarantine hotel rooms and are unable to train for next month’s event after two people on a charter flight from the United States tested positive for Covid-19 after landing in Melbourne Friday.

“The two positive tests have been returned by a member of the flight crew and a passenger who is not a player, who returned a negative test within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight,” Open organizers announced in a statement Saturday.

A total of 79 people were on the flight from Los Angeles, including 67 passengers. All those on board are now in quarantine, while the two positive cases are in health hotels.

Players will not be able to practice for the first Grand Slam of the year, due to begin on Feb. 8, as they will not be able to leave their hotel rooms for 14 days and until they have been medically cleared, the statement said.

Under original guidelines, the players were to be able to leave their rooms for five hours a day for practice purposes.

Mexican player Santiago González, who was on the flight, published to his social media an email he had been sent. It said: “Unfortunately we have been informed by the health authorities that two people on your flight from LAX that arrived at 5:15am on Friday 15 January have returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests on arrival to Melbourne.

“The Chief Health Officer has reviewed the flight and has determined that everyone on board needs to isolate and will be confined to their rooms for the 14-day quarantine period.”

Gonzalez, who showed videos of himself working out in his hotel room, also posted his negative Covid-19 test result.

Others players believed to have been on the flight include Belarusian and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, American Sloane Stephens and Japanese Kei Nishikori.

“We are communicating with everyone on this flight, and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed, to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible, and that they are fully appraised of the situation,” Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director said in the organizers’ statement. EFE-EPA


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