The 72 tennis players participating in the Australian Open obliged to comply 14 days of strict quarantine in a hotel in Melbourne (Australia) will not receive special treatment, confirmed this Monday the Prime Minister of Victoria, Daniel Andrews.
The refusal came after the world’s number one, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, will send a letter to the president of the Australian Tennis Federation, Craig Tiley, with a list of requests regarding the quarantine conditions of the players. Competitors and their teams were isolated and banned from leaving their hotel rooms to train after multiple people on three charter flights tested positive for COVID-19.
“People are free to write request lists, but the answer is no”, Andrews told reporters in Melbourne, where the Oceanic Grand Slam will be held from February 8. “I know that several players have spoken about the rules. The rules apply to them as they apply to everyone else, and they were all briefed on it before they arrived. There is no special treatment here because there is no one special for the virus, so neither for us, “he said.
Andrews further announced that they had identified four other positive cases related to the flights, including an unidentified tennis player, bringing the total to nine. The three charter flights for the Australian Open came from Abu Dhabi, Doha and Los Angeles.
According to a report from the Spanish tennis website Puntodebreak, Djokovic’s requests included fewer days of isolation, the option of confinement to private homes, and better food. All players were already required to undergo a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Australia, but They were granted an exemption to train outdoors for several hours a day. Now, passengers on the affected flights will not be able to leave their room for two weeks.
Some tennis players have taken to Twitter to express their frustration at the 14 days of total isolation. “What I don’t understand is why no one told us. If a person on board knows that the entire plane must be confined, they would think twice before coming here, ”the Kazakh player tweeted Yulia Putintseva.
Meanwhile, the French Alize Cornet had to apologize this Monday for a criticism on Twitter in which described the restrictions as “insane.” “After my last (deleted) tweet, I feel like I need to apologize to you Australians,” Cornet wrote. “Their reactions to this tactless comment made me realize what they went through last year and how much they suffered. I’m a little nervous about all this and I’d better shut my mouth, ”she added.
Last year, about 4.9 million residents in the greater Melbourne area suffered a 112-day confinement in an attempt to stem a second rising wave of the pandemic. Most of the restrictions were lifted in late October.
Monday, Melbourne posted its 12th consecutive day with no community transmission cases of COVID-19. The only new infections were the four international arrivals at the Australian Open, all in hotel quarantine.
Australian COVID-19 Commissioner Emma Cassar said on Sunday that some of the players in quarantine risked facing fines of up to A $ 20,000-$ 15,300 Americans – and gave as an example a tennis player who opened the door of his hotel room to speak to someone in the hall. Cassar also said that all the people who needed to travel to Australia for the tournament have arrived.
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