Australian Open players warned to behave during quarantine as fourth arrival tests positive for coronavirus

The head of Victoria’s coronavirus quarantine authority says it will have zero tolerance for breaches from those connected to the Australian Open, as a fourth positive virus case was recorded. 

A member of the broadcast team travelling from Los Angeles was on Sunday announced as a fourth person to test positive to COVID-19 from Australian Open charter flights.

All passengers on board two chartered flights into Victoria, one from Los Angeles and the other from Abu Dhabi have been placed into mandatory 14-day quarantine after positive cases on board both the flights. 

They include 47 players who will be confined to their hotel rooms and unable to train for two weeks leading up to the tournament. 

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) Commissioner Emma Cassar on Sunday said there would be “zero tolerance” for behaviours which were contrary to the quarantine rules and that Victoria Police had been asked to step up compliance at the hotels. 

Ms Cassar said there had been cases of “challenging behaviour” from some players and support staff. 

“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 UberEats to some other people on the floor and was praising his great efforts and opened his door to do so.

“It is very low level, but they are dangerous acts that we cannot tolerate … they have been formerly warned, and Victoria Police will continue to follow up those who haven’t been spoken to yet.

She warned those who were “persistently” breaching the rules could be fined or transferred to a complex care hotel where a police officer would be stationed outside their door. 

Some players in quarantine have claimed on social media they weren’t told that if one person on the plane had the virus, they would all be forced to isolate. 

Ms Cassar said the rules were made “very clear” to Australian Open organisers in advance and had not changed. But she conceded she had not spoken with the players themselves. 

“The rules of close contacts haven’t changed, and there’s no other way you can consider this. If you’re on a plane for 16 to 24 hours in air that circulates throughout the plane, you are a close contact,” she said.

“The program is set up to keep people safe. We will not be modifying the program or watering it down under any circumstances.”

Earlier on Sunday, the Australian Open confirmed the tournament would be proceeding on schedule on 8 February, however opened the door to scheduling changes to help players who had been forced into quarantine. 

With AAP. 

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