Melbourne Presses Pause on Play as AO Hotel Worker Tests Positive

Tanya Simon
February 4, 2021

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley remains "absolutely confident" the grand slam tournament will start on Monday as planned despite its links to a hotel quarantine worker who tested positive for COVID-19. "We are starting on Monday".

Global players and their support staff who were at that Melbourne CBD hotel, the Grand Hyatt, are in isolation and undergoing testing, with Tennis Australia planning to resume postponed lead-in events on Friday.

Preparations for the Australian Open Grand Slam Tournament, which commences in six days.

Andrew stated that all the 500-600 Australian Open-related parties were deemed as "casual contacts" of the man and that the players will be free to get back to competing once they test negative.

Tiley said he expected those tournaments to resume on Friday and finish Sunday.

Health officials said the man was tested at the end of his shift, returning a negative result.

"But out of an abundance of caution we want to ensure we leave no stone unturned in how we follow up and deal with anybody who may have had contact with this individual", he said.

All players and their entourages and everyone else flew into Australia for the tournament had to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.

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All play was suspended at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned his state they are facing a greater challenge than in 2020 with the emergence of highly-contagious Covid-19 United Kingdom strains within quarantine facilities. Having players and officials from every corner of the earth enter Australia risked infecting the community with all types of COVID strains.

The worker's two family members whom he lives with have not tested positive at this stage. It will also give ammunition to critics of the government decision to allow people to fly in from all over the world at a time when coronavirus cases were surging in some countries but under control in Australia. He was working at the hotel where some of the 1000 players, officials and staff stayed for the 14-day quarantine on their arrival to Australia.

Participants of the Australian Open were given the green light to begin exiting COVID-19 quarantine from end of last week with a lot of them involved at the ATP, WTA events at the site of the hard-court major.

"This is one case".

Mr Andrews said authorities were adding new restriction levels because "we have to assume that this person has in fact infected others".

While Andrews asserted, "there's no need for people to panic", he later stated, "we have to assume that this person has in fact infected others". "We Victorians know what to do, and we have proven, as a state, very successful at managing these sorts of outbreaks, these sorts of issues". Most of those were during a second deadly wave past year when a hard lockdown and overnight curfews were put in place in Melbourne.

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