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Covid positive on third flight to Melbourne sees more players in quarantine

(Update 1: Adds news on Doha flight positives, changes lede, adds detail)

Sydney, Australia, Jan 17 (efe-epa).- A coronavirus case detected on a Doha-Melbourne flight has sent yet more players into a two-week quarantine ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the season.

Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, his Spanish coach and former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and their countryman Mario Vilella were on board of the affected Qatar Airways.

The news comes after a total of 47 players on two other flights, one from Los Angeles and another from Abu Dhabi, were required to quarantine in their hotel rooms for 14 days as Covid-19 cases were detected among passengers.

All competitors and their teams must quarantine for two weeks after arrival, even those who test negative, but those who come from a flight with a positive case are not allowed to use the training facilities ahead of the tournament.

Those who have not shared a flight with people who tested positive are allowed out of quarantine for five hours a day to train, according to the rules of the tournament.

“These procedures are in place to keep people safe,” said Emma Cassar, commissioner for Covid-19 quarantine in the state of Victoria, the capital of which is Melbourne, where the tournament is held. She stressed there would be “zero tolerance” and strong action taken against those trying to bypass the measures.

“If you’re on a plane for 16, 24 hours with air that circulates throughout the plane, you are a close contact,” underlined the commissioner.

Between Thursday and Saturday, more than 1,000 tennis players and their entourages arrived in Australia, said Cassar.

Tournament Director Craig Tiley told local broadcaster Channel 9 that the tournament will be conducted without any delay, and start on Feb. 8 as scheduled.

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