Hundreds of tennis players, officials must isolate after Australia COVID case

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on Monday with up to 30,000 spectators expected daily at Melbourne Park under guidelines which allow for up to 50 percent capacity

Between 500 and 600 Australian Open players, officials and support staff will go into isolation after a worker at one of the event's quarantine hotels tested positive for coronavirus.

Wednesday's play at the six warm-up tournaments that are taking place in Melbourne will be affected due to the new case, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said, as reported by BBC.

The Australian Open is scheduled to begin next Monday and Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews said he thought the positive test ― the first locally-acquired case in the state for nearly a month ― was not a threat to the tournament.

He added that any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne are deemed to be casual contacts of the 26-year-old infected man and are required to isolate until they have returned a negative test.

"We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible", Australian Open officials announced.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the positive case should not impact the Australian Open itself and testing of contacts will start from Thursday.

Tiley said he expected those tournaments to resume on Friday and finish Sunday.

The infected worker tested negative on his last day at the hotel on January 29 but subsequently tested positive and has been working with government and health officials on contact tracing.

"These mutant strains of this virus are an even greater challenge than all the things we faced during 2020", he said on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer, Professor Allen Cheng, said the risk to players and their support staff was low.

All players and their entourages and everyone else flew into Australia for the tournament had to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned his state they are facing a greater challenge than in 2020 with the emergence of highly-contagious Covid-19 United Kingdom strains within quarantine facilities.

Players, including Serena Williams, have been wearing masks in Australia.

The latest coronavirus restrictions could test the resolve of players who've already been through two weeks of quarantine.

All arrivals in Australia must undergo a mandatory quarantine under the COVID-19 pandemic regulations.

Participants of the Australian Open were given the green light to begin exiting COVID-19 quarantine from end of last week with majority involved at the ATP, WTA events at the site of the hard-court major. The first three days of competition were incident free.

"There's no need for people to panic", Andrews said in his news conference announcing the case and a raft of low-key restrictions. "And we have proven as state very successful at managing those sorts of outbreaks, these sorts of issues".