Two COVID-19 cases on Australian Open flight, one locally transmitted case
A two-week infection cycle has elapsed since a cleaner at a Brisbane hotel tested positive for the highly infectious coronavirus strain first detected in Britain, a sign health officials say suggests that efforts, including a three-day city wide lockdown, has stopped its spread. As a result, Victoria and South Australia states will reopen borders to travellers from Brisbane within 24 hours, as long as they submit to coronavirus testing once they return.Reuters | Updated: 16-01-2021 08:56 IST | Created: 16-01-2021 08:56 IST
Two coronavirus infections were reported on Saturday on a flight to the Australian Open, as the country recorded a single locally transmitted case and said a cluster appeared to have been contained.
The positive cases were recorded after the charter flight from Los Angeles landed in Melbourne, carrying players and their entourage for the tennis grand slam, according to online posts from two players. Players on the flight now face two weeks of hotel quarantine and must to train indoors, instead of being allowed out for five hours training per day, part of conditions that allowed the event to go ahead, the newspaper reported.
The inbound infections came as states began to relax travel bans on signs an outbreak in the northern state of Queensland has been contained. "Unfortunately we have been informed by the health authorities that two people on your flight AR7493 from LAX that arrived at 5.15am on Friday 15 January have returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests on arrival in Melbourne," said a message posted on social media by Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez, who is ranked 48 on the doubles circuit.
"From having 5 hours of training in a bubble to this ... (strict quarantine x 15 days). I will be showing you my workouts x Instagram (inside the room)," Uruguayan world number 68 Pablo Cuevas said on Twitter. The news was first reported by The Age.
Australia has agreed to accept around 1,200 players, officials and staff for the major sporting event that is due to begin next month. Tennis and Victorian health officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The local case, in western Sydney, is likely linked a known cluster in New South Wales, the most populous state, which recorded 11 cases in hotel quarantine, contact tracers say.
Australia has halved the number of returning travellers that it will accept, to lower the risk of highly infectious strains seeping into the community, as occurred at a site in Queensland two weeks ago. Emirates Airline said Friday it would suspend flights between Dubai and Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane by early next week until further notice.
Queensland's chief health officer, Jeannette Young, told a news briefing there was "every chance we have contained this cluster" thanks to quick work, especially in the state capital Brisbane. A two-week infection cycle has elapsed since a cleaner at a Brisbane hotel tested positive for the highly infectious coronavirus strain first detected in Britain, a sign health officials say suggests that efforts, including a three-day city wide lockdown, has stopped its spread.
As a result, Victoria and South Australia states will reopen borders to travellers from Brisbane within 24 hours, as long as they submit to coronavirus testing once they return. Victoria may make a similar move in coming days with neighbouring New South Wales, given signals that it has also controlled an outbreak there that emerged before Christmas, said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Borders between Australia's two most populous states have been closed since Jan. 1. Australia, which has logged 15 infections hotel quarantine, has been one of the world's most successful nations in managing the coronavirus spread, with about 28,700 infections and 909 deaths.
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