Melbourne begins 5-day lockdown

Melbourne begins 5-day lockdown

Fans will be barred from watching the tennis at the Australian Open in Melbourne from Saturday after provincial authorities ordered a five day ban on public gatherings in order to fight a coronavirus cluster of the highly contagious United Kingdom variant.

The city was quiet on Saturday morning, with a small number of joggers seen darting through the city center, as the capital of the state of Victoria entered its third lockdown since the pandemic began. "They've been playing in a bubble with no crowds for pretty much a year now, so the last five days (with crowds) have been a unique experience for them".

The positive COVID-19 test of Greek tennis player Michail Pervolarakis, who featured during the 2021 ATP Cup, has put the Australian Open on red alert.

During Friday's action, 10th seed Serena Williams continued her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title with a 7-6, 6-2 third round victory over the unseeded Russian Anastasia Potapova.

"I don't know if the crowd would make it any different".

"The feedback we've had from all the players is they just want to get on and play", he said. "It's been really fun to have the crowd back, especially here". Thousands were forced to leave mid-matches before midnight on Friday.

Under the initial plan for the Australian Open, the government allowed up to 30,000 people daily the first week at Melbourne Park, or about 50% of capacity.

"I was so happy yesterday morning when I thought I would be playing in front of a big crowd", Karolina Muchova said after her win on Saturday over Karolina Pliskova in Rod Laver Arena, which usually holds nearly 15,000 fans.

According to what we read from the Australian website The Age, the situation of the Holiday Inn hotel, a structure located inside the Melbourne airport, has been identified, which has increased during the night, with two others people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of positives to thirteen.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said the Melbourne Park tennis venue would be considered a "work place" that could continue to function with limited staff.

Genomic sequencing has already confirmed eight of the 13 cases of the Holiday Inn cluster are the highly contagious B117 variant, but authorities are working with the theory that all of the cases are that strain. These were the first cases linked with the cluster among those who had not been inside the hotel.

From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria for five days until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the United Kingdom mutant strain of Covid-19.

Most fatalities were recorded during a second deadly wave a year ago.

That lockdown lasted 111 days. A nightly curfew was imposed for weeks.

Australia's states and territories have also been quick to close their borders when outbreaks have occurred, which has also helped to contain the virus.

Five global flights that were in transit when the Victorian government announced a pause on all passenger arrivals will arrive in Melbourne on Saturday, amounting to about 100 passengers.

Last week, play in all six tuneup tournaments was suspended for a day after the worker in one of the tournament's quarantine hotels tested positive for the coronavirus. All of those tests returned negative.

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