COVID case at Australian Open hotel cancels play at tuneups

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An Australian Open courtesy car waits outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in central Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. All competition at six Australian Open tuneup events scheduled for Thursday was called off after a worker at one of the tournaments' Melbourne quarantine hotels tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)

All competition at six Australian Open tuneup events scheduled for Thursday was called off and 520 people who flew to Melbourne for the year's first tennis major were ordered to isolate after a worker at one of the tournaments’ quarantine hotels tested positive for COVID-19.

The Australian Open is scheduled to begin Monday. Any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne were deemed to be casual contacts of the 26-year-old infected man and required to remain in their accommodation until they test negative.

“We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible,” Tennis Australia said in a statement announcing the postponement of all matches at Melbourne Park. A dedicated facility will be used to get players, coaches, officials and staff tested as quickly as possible.

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said he called a late-night news conference Wednesday to announce the case “through an abundance of caution.”

Speaking before all of Thursday’s play was postponed, which he acknowledged was a possibility, Andrews said of the Australian Open: “At this stage, no impact on the tournament proper.”

He held another news conference early Thursday local time, confirming close family contacts of the infected worker had tested negative and contact tracing was advanced.

Allen Cheng, the state's deputy chief health officer, said six people in the Grand Hyatt during the quarantine period for the Australian Open had tested positive and were transferred to a medical facility, and it was likely the man — a resident support officer — was infected there.

“We are aware that he was on a floor where there were cases,” Cheng said.