Australian Open: Health Minister against Tennis Australia

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Australian Open: Health Minister against Tennis Australia

There is a real chaos in the state of Victoria, in Australia, between tennis players and citizens, after that few hours ago, the presence of two people infected with the Covid-19 virus was confirmed on the direct flight from Los Angeles, United States, to Melbourne, Australia.

This means that all players on the plane will now have to spend 14 days in solitary confinement in their hotel room, unable to carry out the training program. Unfortunately, the same thing also happened on another plane: it is the EY8004 direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne, on which a positive person was found in Australia.

Also in this case, the 64 passengers (including 23 players, especially from the WTA Tour) will be subjected to the same treatment, having now to spend two weeks in quarantine without being able to move. As reported on the Australian website The Age, it is difficult to avoid the impression that tennis players come here at the expense of Australians stranded abroad and exposed to the pandemic.

It's also odd that Victoria could find places for tennis stars as her residents are stranded in NSW and Queensland due to its harsh border closures. Health Minister Martin Foley said he understood the frustration of the Victorians stranded in Sydney or Brisbane, which are still considered red zones by the state government, but he didn't want to risk another outbreak in the state of Victoria.

He said: "I apologize for the dislocation this has caused, but I don't apologize for the principle of keeping Victoria safe and keeping Victoria open. More than 70,000 Victorians are trying to go home with the new state traffic light system, with thousands still stranded in NSW under current restrictions.

While Victoria reopened on Monday at NSW regional, Greater Sydney remains a red zone from which people can only travel with an exemption," the minister explained.

Australian Open: Health Minister against Tennis Australia

Players are coming from all over the world to prepare for the Australian Open 2021, a grand slam event that, like everything these days, will be overshadowed by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The start of the tournament has already been postponed to February 8th due to quarantine restrictions and many are wondering if it should be canceled. Madison Keys has already retired after testing positive for the virus and former number one Andy Murray is in serious doubt after his diagnosis.

It is almost certain, given the skyrocketing infection rates in countries like Britain and the United States, that others will test positive after arriving here. Tennis Australia and the Victoria State government have responded by announcing what they say is a watertight hotel quarantine system.

A group of elite players will make their two-week stint at a special facility in Adelaide, while the rest will be housed in three Melbourne hotels. They will be supervised by a staff of 1,700 and will only be able to go out for five hours of practice per day at the Melbourne Park courts.

The next few weeks will require careful planning and vigilance, Tennis Australia must ensure that spectators and staff - ballboys, referees and hospitality operators - are protected from COVID. Hotel quarantine places have long been well below demand and the queue will only get longer after the national government's decision last week to cut the weekly limit for arrivals due to the higher risk posed by new strains of viruses.