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Coronavirus

No Crowds, But Australian Open Will Continue During Lockdown

February 12, 2021

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

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced a state-wide lockdown, including restricting residents to their homes except for work, shopping for essential supplies, caregiving and limited exercise.

Schools will be closed Monday through Wednesday, and there will be no gatherings permitted at homes or for sports events, weddings or religious services. Masks will be required everywhere.

Andrews says the Feb. 8-21 Australian Open could continue “because these people are at their workplace.” He adds the latest COVID-19 cases had nothing to do with the tennis quarantine program.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says the only people who will be permitted on site will be the players, their direct support team and essential staff members. The Australian Open was the first Grand Slam tournament in a year to allow sizeable crowds, with up to 22,000 people.

The cluster of cases linked to the hotel quarantine program at the Melbourne Airport grew to 13 on Thursday night. Australia, which imposed a hard lockdown early in the pandemic, has registered 909 total confirmed deaths.

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