Greek tennis player tests positive after leaving Melbourne

Crowds had already been limited to 50% of usual capacity for the Australian Open

Crowds had already been limited to 50% of usual capacity for the Australian Open Credit Reuters

The Australian Open will be allowed to continue but without crowds after the Victoria state government imposed a snap, five-day lockdown starting Saturday in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at a quarantine hotel.

Schools will be closed Monday through Wednesday, and there will be no gatherings for weddings or religious services. Masks will be required everywhere. "These people are essentially at their workplace", he said. "I don't have advice to cancel the event on the basis that it's unsafe". The government reported 19 total cases.

Organizers are hopeful of fans returning for the last four days of the tournament, including the semifinals and finals in the singles.

In an Instagram post, Pervolarakis said he returned a positive result in South Africa after a 24-hour journey from Australia and is now in an isolation facility. "I'm sitting here making 178 heartbreaking phone calls to see if I can get them to rebook", said Will Baa, owner of Lover, a restaurant in the hip district of Windsor. "It will allow us to protect Queenslanders and to support our public health officers doing that contract tracing work and not adding to their workload, while they are racing to get to those contacts", Dr Miles told reporters.

Serena Williams, who was out on court winning her third round match when the announcement was made, said she would miss the fans. The seven-time Australian Open victor didn't hear the news until after the match.

"I didn't know at all until the match was over. It's going to be a rough few days for I think everyone", she said.

"It's not ideal - it's been really fun now with the crowd back".

With "everything that has been happening, in a sense I feel like nothing can surprise me", he said.

The campaign ended on Friday for home hero Nick Kyrgios, who considerably raised the decibel levels at Melbourne Park during his three rounds, before the stands were vacated.

"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.

The Australian Open tennis and AFLW games will continue during the lockdown but there will be no spectators.

Its start was delayed from the middle of January in order to allow players and their entourages enough time to undergo Australia's strict quarantine rules. The biggest daily attendance in the first four days was 21,010 on Thursday.

A COVID-19 outbreak, connected to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport, grew to 14 cases on Saturday as the state went into lockdown.

But its quarantine hotels, where all global arrivals have to spend two weeks, have been a weak link in its defences, with the latest Melbourne cluster another example.

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 of those were during a second deadly wave a year ago when a hard lockdown was put in place in Melbourne.

The region eradicated community spread of COVID-19 cases after a major lockdown from July through October a year ago.

Under the lockdown, Victoria residents must stay at home and can only leave for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping and caring for family.

The extreme measures did succeed in stamping out the virus. Victoria had gone 28 straight days without a locally acquired case.

All Australian states and territories have announced new travel restrictions for Victoria following the announcement of a five-day lockdown. Several states have announced border closures already for travelers from Victoria.

Michail Pervolarakis did not play at the Australian Open but represented Greece at the ATP Cup in Melbourne earlier this month.

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