Huge influx of travellers for Australian Open


Melbourne’s hotel quarantine system will be scrutinised this week as an influx of international tennis stars and support staff arrive ahead of the Australian Open.

About 1200 players, staff and other officials will flock to the Victorian capital on-board 15 charter flights from Thursday afternoon.

Once they arrive, they will be transported to three hotels transformed to accommodate the world’s best tennis players in quarantine conditions.

Those hotels include the Grand Hyatt, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman at Albert Park, where players will be unable to leave their rooms outside of competition, with the tournament kicking off on February 8.

Players are allowed one support person during competition who will be tested daily and escorted at all times.

All other members of the players’ team will be transported to a hotel quarantine facility.

“We are assuming that every single tennis player that arrives and their officials has the potential to be positives, so our program has been designed around that potential and how we ensure that if there is a positive case that there is no risk to the Victorian community,” the state’s Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville told reporters on Tuesday.

“We have put in place the strongest and strictest rules that applies to tennis across the world.”

Tennis stars and their staff must complete tests before leaving their country of origin and will not be able to travel until a negative test is received.

On arrival, they will be subjected to the same restrictions imposed on any returning traveller forced into hotel quarantine.

“You cannot leave your room,” Ms Neville said, ensuring police will be on site with alarms in place to ensure there is no movement around the facilities.

The announcement comes as Victoria recorded zero new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Tuesday as more than 18,000 people were tested in the past 24 hours.

The Department of Health and Human Services also revealed no new infections in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

There are 38 active cases of COVID-19 across the state. There were 18,139 tests undertaken in the past 24 hours.

There are now more than 200 testing centres in Victoria, including a new testing site near gate one at the MCG.

Almost 200,000 tests have been taken in Victoria since the start of the year.

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