The Australian Open has been rocked by a positive result at one of the tournament’s designated quarantine hotels, with up to 600 players, officials and support staff now expected to go into isolation.
The grand slam, which was delayed by three weeks due to quarantine restrictions in Australia, is scheduled to start on Monday, with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews insisting “at this stage there is no impact on the tournament proper”.
A 26-year-old man has tested positive for Covid-19 after working at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on 29 January, where up to 600 people could be considered “causal contacts”. Players preparing for the Australian Open will have to isolate until they return a negative test.
The man, who had been working as a resident support officer, tested negative before and after his shift at the hotel but later developed symptoms. Andrews added that it is believed to be the UK variant of the virus.
Increased restriction levels are now set to be put in place because it has to be “assumed that this person has in fact infected others”, while warm-up events on Thursday at Melbourne Park were placed in doubt.
“We can’t particularly determine how it is the person became infected given that they produced negative test results,” Andrews said.
“All of that will become clearer with a combination of CCTV footage, genomic sequencing, further testing, all of that coronavirus detective work that already well and truly underway.
“This is one case, there is no need for people to be panicked or alarmed. We have proved as a state very successful in managing these sort of outbreaks and issues.”
Pressed on whether the Australian Open is in jeopardy, Andrews said: “We have one case and the decision has been made: the event will proceed next week.”