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Australian Open tuneups paused, players isolate after worker gets COVID-19

Many tennis players and staff members associated with the 2021 Australian Open were forced to quarantine Wednesday after potential exposure to a hotel worker who tested positive for COVID-19. Photo by Jeffery from Christchurch, New Zealand/WikiMedia Commons
Many tennis players and staff members associated with the 2021 Australian Open were forced to quarantine Wednesday after potential exposure to a hotel worker who tested positive for COVID-19. Photo by Jeffery from Christchurch, New Zealand/WikiMedia Commons

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Hundreds of Australian Open players, staff and officials are in isolation in Melbourne after a hotel worker tested positive for COVID-19, officials from the Grand Slam tennis tournament said Wednesday.

Competition at six tuneup events has been canceled for Thursday because of the positive test and quarantines. Between 500 and 600 people affiliated with the tournament are expected to be forced into isolation.

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"Those associated with the Australian Open who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result," the tournament said in a statement on social media.

"We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible. There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today."

The Victorian department of health said the worker assisted with quarantine services at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and listed several additional sites where those associated with the tournament could have been exposed.

"Anyone who has visited these exposure sites during the times must immediately isolate, get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test, and remain isolated for 14 days," the department said in a statement.

The 2021 Australian Open is scheduled to start Monday. The tournament had been delayed three weeks from its scheduled start date due to the pandemic.

Several players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19 before the tournament and did not travel to Melbourne.

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