Monday, June 14, 2021

Aus Open has 4th COVID case; some players trying to breach quarantine rules

The Australian Open has announced a fourth case of coronavirus, with the commissioner warning some players and their entourages are attempting “dangerous acts” which are breaching quarantine rules.

Commissioner for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, Emma Cassar, made the announcement on Sunday afternoon as she flagged a number of people within the quarantine system have attempted to break the strict rules around their mandatory isolation.

The latest case is a member of the broadcast team, who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles.

There are now 62 people who have been identified as close contacts of the four cases, who will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine.

Emerging virus cases have left many players in doubt as to whether they’ll be able to practice before the grand slam event. Match practice is expected to commence on Monday.

Tennis Australia has confirmed no changes will be made to the schedule despite some players saying 14 days of isolation would hinder their performance.

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A number of players have taken to social media to express their frustration at being stuck in a hotel room for the next two weeks and not being able to engage in proper training.

The positive cases will be transferred to Melbourne’s Holiday Inn, with Ms Cassar telling reporters some players and support crews who are testing the state’s quarantine regime might not be far behind them.

Ms Cassar flagged Victorian officials will issue fines and further action for players who try and breach the rules, which are designed to contain potential strains of coronavirus from entering Australia.

“We take all breaches really seriously,” she said.

“For the players, that is a fine of up to $20,000, a warning from the police, but what we have also considered today is for those who are persistently breaching or not willing to remain in their rooms, our other option would be to transfer people to the complex care hotel where there is a member of Victoria Police outside the door.”

Victoria Police said it would not be commenting on individual cases but “will not hesitate to issue fines for obvious and blatant breaches of any mandatory quarantine requirements”.

It is understood the breaches have been linked to players and crew members leaving rooms to speak to one another.

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“Some of these challenging behaviours include one player who opened his door to try and have a conversation with his training mate down the hallway,” Ms Cassar said.

“It is very low level, but they are dangerous acts that we cannot tolerate.”

Another example flagged by Ms Cassar was a player who shouted food for others within the hotel – which is allowed – before breaking the rules by opening his door to “praise himself for his great efforts”.

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