Two coronavirus cases reportedly confirmed on Australian Open chartered flight into Melbourne

Tanya Simon
January 16, 2021

The 15 charter flights and the early arrivals are all part of Tennis Australia's attempt to have the tournament happen despite a general ban on worldwide arrivals into the country.

"We're nervous enough about tennis players flying in & being irresponsible - please don't joke about this", tweeted one person.

"I feel awful for all the players aboard who now won't be allowed to practise for the next two weeks except on the exercise bikes the Australian Open delivered to their rooms", she tweeted.

More than 1200 players and support staff have begun arriving for 14 days' quarantine ahead of the delayed tournament, which is due to start on February 8.

All 66 passengers must now stay in their hotel rooms for the entire 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

Tennis Australia moved to clarify the situation in a statement Thursday that outlined players who've previously tested positive to COVID-19 were "required to provide additional and highly detailed medical information as proof they are a recovered case and no longer infectious or a risk to the community".

According to local media, former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, America's Sloane Stephens and Japan's Kei Nishikori were among those on the plane, which departed from Los Angeles.

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The Herald Sun quoted from the email sent to passengers on the flight.

There was also some early controversy when it was revealed that top 30-ranked player Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who was provisionally suspended for failing an out-of-competition doping test on January 8, flew to Australia and was also among those players in quarantine.

Players and their teams will be tested every day during quarantine. American Madison Keys pulled out last week after she tested positive. Victoria state, which has as its capital Melbourne, accounted for 810 of those during a deadly second wave three months ago which resulted in overnight curfews and lockdowns for the city.

Tournament organizers said players would also "undergo a more rigorous testing schedule than most returning travelers".

Three-time major victor Andy Murray tested positive for the virus and is isolating at home in London, casting major doubt over whether he will be able to play.

Lisa Neville, Australia's Minister for Police and Emergency Services, confirmed on Twitter that Sandgren's positive result had been reviewed by health experts and "determined to be viral shedding from a previous infection, so was given the all clear to fly".

Britain's Press Association news agency said the three-time major victor, apparently in good health, was hoping to arrive in Australia at a later date.

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