Positive coronavirus test result on third Australian Open charter flight sends more players into quarantine

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Tennis players who flew into Melbourne on a third charter plane will be forced into two weeks’ quarantine and will be unable to train after a positive COVID-19 result was detected on a passenger on a flight from Qatar.

French player Alexandre Muller tweeted a screenshot of an email he had received on Sunday night, saying that a person on QR7485 from Doha on Saturday morning had returned a positive result.

The email said that all people on the flight would need to self-isolate would be confined to their rooms.

A spokesperson for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria confirmed on Sunday evening that a non-playing Australian Open participant would be transferred to a health hotel following a positive test result for coronavirus.

“There are no other known positive tests from this flight, but routine testing will continue for passengers,” the spokesperson said.

All 57 passengers were deemed close contacts, and would be required to isolate, the spokesperson said.

It comes after more than 120 people, including 47 players, were required to undertake 14 days’ quarantine after four people tested positive on flights from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi on Friday.


Earlier on Sunday, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) commissioner Emma Cassar confirmed the fourth case and said it was a member of a broadcast team who travelled to Victoria on a chartered flight from Los Angeles.

Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from January 17 with our coronavirus blog.

Two other passengers on that flight — a crew member and a tournament participant who is not a player — were confirmed as having the virus on Saturday.

One passenger on another flight, EY8004 from the United Arab Emirates, also tested positive after arriving in Melbourne, CQV confirmed late Saturday night.

The Australian Open is still set to begin on February 8.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

Under the Australian Open quarantine rules, they all tested negative before boarding their flights.

Under the Australian Open quarantine rules, COVID-negative players are allowed to leave their rooms for five hours training per day during their two-week hotel quarantine period.

Ms Cassar said Sunday’s training had been delayed while authorities waited for the test results of the more than 1,000 players and staff who had arrived between Thursday night and Saturday morning.

Ms Cassar said CQV was working with public health teams to get the genomic sequencing back on the positive cases to determine what strain of COVID-19 they had contracted.

People in quarantine ‘testing our procedures’

Ms Cassar said there had been a “small few” people within the Australian Open quarantine hotels who were “testing our procedures” and had tried to leave their rooms.

“These procedures are in place to keep people safe,” she said.

“I can give you two examples, a player who opened his door to try and have a conversation with his training mate down the hallway. Again, he’s got a phone, you can pick up the phone and use the telephone as opposed to putting you and others at risk,” she said.

“The other was another gentleman who shouted some Uber Eats to some other people on the floor and was praising his great efforts and opened his door to do so.

“It is really low-level but really dangerous acts which we just can’t tolerate.”

One of the people was a player, Ms Cassar said.

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