Tennis players who test positive for coronavirus in hotel quarantine could be in isolation for days after their fellow competitors are free to leave, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer says.
- Tennis player Paula Badosa could spend 14 days in isolation from the date of her positive test if she has the UK strain
- Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says the positive test shows hard quarantine was justified
- The Premier would not confirm whether bigger crowds would be allowed at the Australian Open
Spanish player Paula Badosa tested positive for COVID-19 on her seventh day of hard quarantine, and has been moved to a health hotel to isolate.
Badosa had previously complained about being subjected to a stricter lockdown after being on a flight with someone who tested positive upon arrival in Melbourne.
She is required to spend at least 10 days in isolation from the date of her positive test, but that could be extended to 14 days if she is found to have the more virulent UK strain of the virus.
The other players who are in hotel quarantine are due to leave at the end of next week.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton the extra time in quarantine was “an unfortunate consequence for anyone who becomes a case”.
If Badosa is found to have the UK strain, she will not be released from isolation until at least February 4, leaving her little time to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on February 8.
People need to be symptom-free and meet other clinical criteria to leave the quarantine system, regardless of when they first tested positive.
In a tweet, Badosa said she would try to recover “to play my favourite Slam.”
Sutton defends ‘necessary’ hard quarantine measures
Badosa said in a since-deleted tweet that she had not been expecting to have to isolate, even if there had been a positive result on her plane.
“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote.
“Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.”
Professor Sutton said the approach of quarantining everyone on the three planes where there were positive cases was “entirely appropriate, and that’s been borne out by this.”
“It’s certainly proof that the hard quarantine measures were necessary, you do need to manage each and every case with a great deal of precaution,” he said.
On Friday morning, Badosa tweeted that she was “grateful for being in Australia” and that “quarantine & preventive measures are pivotal right now”.
She maintained she was complaining about “rules that changed overnight”, even though Tennis Australia has said all players were made aware of Victoria’s quarantine rules for close contacts.
Spain’s Royal Tennis Federation (RFET) overnight called for two players to be released from hard quarantine.
The statement said that the RFET “understand” the measures are taken for the good of everyone, but called for the confinement to be “compatible with the mental and physical health of the athletes”.
Premier Daniel Andrews would not say whether crowd allowances at Melbourne Park would change given Victoria’s run of days without a locally acquired case.
“We will always be guided by public health advice and we’ll strive to strike that difficult balance between making sure people can have something that is as close to normal as possible, but it has to be safe,” he said.
“We’re not going to see stadiums that are full, we’re not going to see, if you like, events that essentially pretend that this virus is gone because we desperately want it to.”
“We’ve got a process, we look at venues and events on a case by case basis and that’s served us well.”