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The 72 tennis players who comply with strict quarantines in hotels before the start of the Australian Open because they coincided with a positive case of covid-19 in their planes will not benefit from “any favoritism” to train, health authorities announced this Monday from the country.
Forced to rally against the walls and windows of their rooms, the players requested to relax the isolation measures to try to reach the first big of the year, which begins on February 8, in their best form.
This weekend, several passengers tested positive for COVID-19 on three of the 17 flights carrying players and coaches to Melbourne and Adelaide.
The 72 players on board, just over a quarter of the 256 participants, will not have the right to train during the 14 days of quarantine that they must keep to avoid any risk of spreading covid-19.
The health authorities specified this Monday that they have detected two new cases, which brings the number of infected from this outbreak linked to the Australian Open to six.
Several players expressed their discontent on social media. The world number 1, Novak Djokovic, after having traveled on a flight in which no case was detected, would have sent a list of requests to the organizers of the tournament that includes the right to settle in private homes equipped with a tennis court .
The Prime Minister of the State of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, rejected these demands, stating that the authorities will not relax the established measures.
“There is no favorable treatment here. The virus does not treat anyone in a special way, so neither do we,” he settled.
The special permits to travel from which nearly 1,000 people have benefited, including players, coaches and others who will participate in the first big of the tennis year, have already been highly criticized in Australia because several thousand Australians are blocked in abroad and cannot return home.
The island-continent closed its international borders in March and limited the number of people allowed to return each week.
– ‘Privileged’ –
Unlike citizens who return to the country, who must comply with a strict 14-day quarantine, Australian Open players – except for the 72 who traveled with a positive – have the right to leave their room for five hours to train.
Andrews claimed that the players had been informed before traveling of the quarantine rules.
“The idea of it being changed, the idea that they were not informed, I think they have no arguments,” he said.
Some recalled that Melbourne has suffered four long months of lockdown in 2020 that served to control the pandemic.
“Our health security is more important than your feeling of privilege,” wrote one citizen on Twitter.
“Most of us here in Melbourne don’t want tennis players to be able to reintroduce the virus and force us to have stricter restrictions,” added another.
The French Alizé Cornet apologized to Australians on Twitter after writing a message in which she described the quarantine measure as “insane”.
“Their reaction to this tactless comment made me realize what they went through last year and what they suffered. I was a little anxious about all this and it would have been better for me to shut up,” said the tennis player.
The Australian Tennis Federation began handing out devices that allow players who cannot leave their rooms to train, while some worry about the risk of injury on their return, in the week of the Melbourne preparation tournaments that begins on 31 from January.
New Zealand player Artem Sitak reported on the Australian ABC network that he heard the noise of balls bouncing off the walls of the rooms everywhere.
hr / arb / th / juf / pm / psr
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