Three more COVID-19 cases linked to Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Three more people linked to the Australian Open have tested positive for COVID-19 in Melbourne, increasing to 10 those associated with the Grand Slam tennis tournament which begins on February 8.

Victoria state Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville confirmed the new cases had been detected yesterday, adding that authorities are “very confident” one of the cases is a tennis player who is shedding the virus and is not infectious.

The player is already in hard lockdown as they were on board a flight into Melbourne with another positive case. The other two cases are a player and their support person. Those 10 positive cases mean a total of 72 players remain in hard lockdown after being deemed close contacts of those positives on three charter flights into Melbourne from Abu Dhabi, Doha and Los Angeles.

There were 17 tournament charter flights which arrived into Australia over three days last week so players and their entourages could undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine ahead of the tournament.

Australian Open Director Craig Tiley said 3,200 tests have been conducted on the more than 1,200 players, support staff and tournament officials.

“We’re in our sixth day and so far the numbers have been extremely low and if they are active cases they go straight to the medi-hotel,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp yesterday.

Tiley criticised what he said were a “minority” of players who continue to complain about the conditions in hotel quarantine on social media.

“Culturally there’s a different approach to how the virus is managed,” he said. “We’re proud here in Victoria and Australia of how we have done it and protected the community like we have. We’re going to continue to do that.”