Australian Open: Two people on chartered flight test positive for coronavirus

Two people on a chartered flight for the Australian Open have tested positive for Covid-19, local health authorities said.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement on Saturday a crew member and an Australian Open participant who is not a player have been taken to a health hotel after returning positive tests.

Players began arriving in the country on Thursday ahead of a two-week quarantine period, during which they are allowed out of their rooms to practise for five hours a day.

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However, the players and support staff on the affected flight have been deemed close contacts and will not be allowed out to train.

“All remaining 66 passengers on the flight have been determined to be close contacts,” the statement said.

“Any players and support people will not be able to leave quarantine to attend training.

“Upon arrival to Australia all players are immediately placed in a secure quarantine environment for 14 days under the authority of Covid Quarantine Victoria and will undergo a more rigorous testing schedule than for most returning travellers.”

Tennis Australia said in a statement 24 of the affected passengers were players.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “We are communicating with everyone on this flight, and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed, to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible, and that they are fully appraised of the situation.

“Our thoughts are with the two people who tested positive on the flight and we wish them well for their recovery.”

Tournament organisers spent several months negotiating an arrangement that was acceptable to local and national government agencies regarding the admission of more than 1,000 tennis players and associated personnel to Australia.

The news comes just days after former world No 1 Andy Murray tested positive with the 33-year-old Brit due to travel to Australia on one of the 18 charter flights laid on by tournament organisers.

However, he is now isolating at home but hoping to be able to arrive in Australia at a later date and take part in the tournament, which begins on February 8 in Melbourne.

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