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15 chartered flights land, 47 players grounded in bumpy start to Australian Open build-up

Like clockwork, 15 chartered flights transporting players for the Australian Open landed in Melbourne, throughout the 36-hour interval devoted for his or her arrival. Organisers of the 12 months’s first Grand Slam, Tennis Australia had spent months haggling and fine-tuning their COVID-19 security protocols with the Victorian Government to make sure the match certainly takes place. One of the measures that that they had to have in place was to take care of the potential of people testing optimistic after they land in the nation.

It simply so occurred that as flight QR7493 from Los Angeles arrived in Melbourne, two travellers returned optimistic assessments, and the protocols kicked in. A couple of hours later, there was one other optimistic take a look at after flight EY8004 from Abu Dhabi landed.

There had been 79 individuals on board the flight from the US, together with 24 players, and 64 passengers on the airplane from Abu Dhabi, together with 23 players.

The Australian Open subsequently put out related statements, confirming that not one of the three optimistic assessments belonged to a participant.

“The two positive tests have been returned by a member of the flight crew and a passenger who is not a player, who returned a negative test within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight,” learn the assertion after the Los Angeles flight landed.

But by being in aeroplanes for flights that lasted over 13 hours every, everybody on board grew to become a ‘close contact.’

Hard Quarantine

Since the Victorian Government made it clear {that a} 14-day quarantine interval for worldwide passengers was obligatory, Tennis Australia managed to organize a provision that players could be allowed exterior their lodge rooms for not more than 5 hours a day in order to practise and/or practice. That leisure, nevertheless, won’t be prolonged to the players who had been aboard QR7493 and EY8004.

“Unfortunately, we have been informed by the health authorities that two people on your flight QR7493 from LAX that arrived at 5.15am on Friday 15 January have returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests on arrival in Melbourne,” learn a letter despatched to the individuals on the flight from Los Angeles, which was posted on Instagram by doubles World No. 48 Santiago (*47*).

“The Chief Health Officer has reviewed the flight and has determined that everyone on board needs to isolate and will be confined to their rooms for the 14-day quarantine. We know this is not how you imagined your preparations for the AO would start, but our entire team is here to support you and do everything that we can to get you through this.”

The same letter was despatched to the people on board the Abu Dhabi flight.

Players concerned

In the Los Angeles-origin flight. together with (*47*) had been (however not restricted to) two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens,former World No. 4 males’s singles participant Kei Nishikori (who missed the US Open final 12 months after testing optimistic for COVID-19), and former World No. 18 Alison Riske.

Also current on the airplane was Argentina’s Guido Pella, whose misfortune continued to comply with him. Ahead of the US Open, his coach had examined optimistic for the virus, and since Pella was an in depth contact (however by no means examined optimistic), he was compelled to withdraw from the build-up Cincinnati Masters 1000 occasion.

Meanwhile, American participant Tennys Sandgren, who had examined optimistic earlier than boarding the airplane in Los Angeles however was allowed to journey after his case was decided as (*15*) was additionally on board.

On the flight from Abu Dhabi was former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and former World No. 4 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

None of those players shall be allowed to go away their lodge rooms for 14 days – ending on January 29. These players, nevertheless, shall be offered train bikes in their rooms to assist them maintain in form.

Charter Flights

One of the methods Tennis Australia hoped to scale back the danger of players contracting the virus throughout their journeys to Melbourne was to organise constitution flights. These flights from Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore and Los Angeles, carrying not more than 25 per cent of passenger capability, had been obtainable just for certified players who had cleared the PCR take a look at earlier than the day of journey.

Players like three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and former World No. 7 Madison Keys didn’t make the minimize as they examined optimistic days earlier than they had been to journey.

But the organisers had made players conscious of the chance that there could also be optimistic circumstances after arrival.

“Obviously not great, but that’s the risk we were all taking,” doubles World No. 78 Artem Sitak, who travelled on the Los Angeles flight, wrote in an Instagram submit.

“(Organisers) kind of warned us this was going to be the direction of the Australian government, Australian health authorities if something like this happened. It’s just unlucky that two of them contracted the virus.”

Players get choice 

To enable players to journey to Melbourne, there are stories that a number of Australian residents are stranded overseas. The authorities has enforced an arrival cap on individuals travelling to the nation per week.

According to ABC News, 1,505 worldwide travellers are allowed to enter New South Wales per week, 500 in Queensland and 512 in Western Australia. The information organisation additionally reported that there are over 37,000 Australian residents overseas ready to return dwelling.

Over 1,200 individuals – together with players and officers – are anticipated to journey for the Australian Open.

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