A hotel quarantine worker has tested positive for COVID-19 in Melbourne, forcing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to intensify coronavirus restrictions late Wednesday night.
In an emergency press conference, Andrews announced that the positive case stemmed from a 26-year-old man who previously served as a resident support officer at the Grand Hyatt for the Australian Open’s quarantine program. After recording a negative test at the end of his shift, the worker later showed signs of symptoms and subsequently came up positive.
“We can't particularly determine how it is the person became infected given that they produced negative test results,” said Andrews.
A Hotel Quarantine worker at the Grand Hyatt Hotel has tested positive to coronavirus (COVID-19).— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) February 3, 2021
Anyone who has visited these exposure sites during the times below must immediately isolate, get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test, and remain isolated for 14 days. pic.twitter.com/BNpSOEcpHY
While Andrews asserted, “there's no need for people to panic,” he later stated, “we have to assume that this person has in fact infected others.” The state of Victoria had just celebrated four weeks without a community transmission at the start of the day.
A news release sent by Victoria’s Health and Human Services confirmed, “we are contacting all Australian Open players, officials and support staff who were staying at the Grand Hyatt during the entire period. They are considered casual contacts. They must immediately isolate and get tested.”
Anyone who visited a Tier 1 exposure site will have to undertake the same measures, but remain isolated for 14 days. Masks will now be mandatory inside public indoor spaces.
Between 500-600 players and personnel were housed at the Grand Hyatt during the mandatory two-week quarantine. As casual contacts, all must now produce a negative test before returning to their outside activities. Competitors such as Stan Wawrinka and Daniil Medvedev have since changed hotels per recent Instagram posts after completing the quarantine program.
As a result, Thursday’s once-crowded order of play at Melbourne Park—six tournaments were to be held simultaneously at the site—has been completely eliminated. Friday's updated schedule will be released later in the day, dependent, of course, on testing results.
We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible.— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 3, 2021
There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today. #AusOpen
Added Andrews, “It may have an impact in tomorrow's play in the lead-up event but at this stage there's no impact to the tournament proper.”
Australian Open Update - Craig Tiley
LIVE: Craig Tiley is providing an update on The Australian Open after a worker at a hotel used to quarantine players and officials tested positive to coronavirus.Posted by 10 News First Melbourne on Wednesday, February 3, 2021
On Thursday afternoon, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley provided a series of updates during a press conference. Among the takeaways included:
- 507 tests were carried out for the casual contacts at the Grand Hyatt. 160 of those tested were players.
- The Australian Open draws are delayed until Friday afternoon. They were originally scheduled to be made at 6 p.m. Thursday. As of now, there is no plan to push back the start date of February 8.
- Anyone not staying at the Grand Hyatt during the quarantine period is permitted to go on-site and continue with preparation as normal.
- Organizers are preparing for contingency plans to address inclement weather in the forecast, and are optimistic all six tournaments can be finished by Sunday if play resumes Friday.
- Friday's order of play was released just after 8:30 p.m. local time. MCA features eight singles matches, and some ATP players will be line to pull double duty in singles.
- WTA matches are transitioning to a 10-point match tiebreak for deciding sets.
We’ll continue to monitor this developing story.