The 2021 Australian Open is faced with another setback as two more players were reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, as the number of COVID-19 cases linked to the grand slam tournament went up to 10.
Earlier, 72 players had to be sent to hard quarantine after positive cases were detected in the flights they were on that arrived in Australia from Los Angeles, Doha and Abu Dhabi.
Players, who arrived in the flights in which the positive cases were detected, are required to stay in their hotel rooms and are not allowed to practice for two weeks since their arrival. Those who are not considered as close contacts with the people whose results returned positive have been allowed to train up to five hours a day in a bio-security bubble.
AFP reported that a total of four more people associated with the tournament had tested positive for the virus since Tuesday.
“One of those is a player who has absolutely been in hard lockdown because he came in on one of the flights where we had positives,” Victoria state police minister Lisa Neville was quoted as saying.
“One is another player, and one is a support person with that player.”
The first grand slam of the year is scheduled to take place from February 8—already delayed by three weeks due to the pandemic.
Tournament director Craig Tiley has said that 3,200 tests have been conducted on the more than 1,200 players, support staff and tournament officials.
“We’re in our sixth day and so far the numbers have been extremely low and if they are active cases they go straight to the medi-hotel,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
While organisers have said that most players are following the COVID-19 and have accepted their isolation “without complaint”, a few others have grumbled about the restrictions. World number one Novak Djokovic reportedly wrote to Tennis Australia to reduce their quarantine period and move players to “private houses with tennis courts”.