Players arriving
Players arriving
AFP

Melbourne

Three coronavirus cases have been detected among charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, health authorities and tournament organisers said Saturday.

A total of 47 players from the two affected flights - arriving from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi - are now in a strictly enforced 14-day quarantine without the ability to leave their hotel rooms, even to practice. The Australian Open is scheduled to start Feb. 8.

Health authorities said two positive COVID-19 cases emerged from a charter flight from Los Angeles, and later Saturday, Tennis Australia said there was a third positive case from a flight from Abu Dhabi.

The cases from Los Angeles involved an aircrew member and a passenger who was not a player. The third positive test, also not a player, was from a flight from Abu Dhabi in the past 24 hours, Tennis Australia said.

Authorities earlier said that all passengers from the Los Angeles flight would go into the 14-day hotel quarantine.

"An aircrew member and Australian Open participant who is not a player have been transferred to a health hotel following positive test results for coronavirus (COVID-19)," Victoria state's health department said in a statement about the Los Angeles flight.

"All remaining 66 passengers on the flight have been determined to be close contacts. Any players and support people will not be able to leave quarantine to attend training. The remaining flight crew all tested negative and were permitted to fly out without passengers directly to their home port."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley issued a statement saying the 24 players who were on that flight will not be able to leave their hotels rooms for 14 days and until they are medically cleared.

"We are communicating with everyone on this flight, and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed, to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible, and that they are fully appraised of the situation," Tiley said.

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