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Some Australian Open players to isolate after person working at hotel tests positive for coronavirus

MELBOURNE — Some players preparing for the Australian Open will have to isolate until they return a negative test for COVID-19 after a person working at one of the tournament’s quarantine hotels tested positive for the virus.

Daniel Andrews, the political leader of Victoria state, called a late-night news conference Wednesday to announce the case and urged anyone with symptoms in Melbourne to get tested.

Andrews said the case could have an impact on some of the six tuneup tournaments being held this week ahead of the Australian Open, with any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne deemed to be casual contacts of the 26-year-old infected man and required to isolate until they’ve returned a negative test.

The hotel advertises it has 550 rooms, including 25 premium suites, so potentially hundreds of people could be involved. Follow-up from the positive case could test the resolve of players who have recently come out of two weeks in quarantine, and give ammunition to critics of the decision to allow people to fly in from all over the world for the Australian Open.

“It may have an effect on tomorrow’s play in the leadup event,” Andrews said. “At this stage, no impact on the tournament proper.”

The Australian Open is scheduled to start Monday, with up to 30,000 spectators expected daily at Melbourne Park under guidelines that allow for up to 50% capacity.

Australian Open organizers didn’t immediately have details of how many players would have to isolate.

Everyone who arrives in Australia must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine under the COVID-19 pandemic regulations. The Australian Open used three hotels in Melbourne for the bulk of the players to quarantine and had other secure accommodation and facilities in Adelaide, South Australia state, for some of the biggest stars, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

The infected person tested negative on his last day at the hotel on Friday but subsequently tested positive and has been working with government and health officials on contact tracing.

“This is one case,” Andrews said. “We’re well trained and well schooled in what to do.”

He said he was holding the news conference and announcing restrictions, which require the mandatory use of face masks while indoors, “through an abundance of caution.”

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