Having served two weeks in quarantine, players have been given the green light to begin checking out of their confinement obligations on Thursday evening.
I just found out we’re not going to be able to leave the room until midnight tomorrow, which will put us out close to 15 days in this room. That’s also another day we can’t practise. Tennys Sandgren
The first group among the 960 players, coaches and officials isolating at three Melbourne hotels were allowed to leave from 6 pm local time (0700 GMT), with the rest expected to depart by Sunday, Victoria state health officials said.
Players isolating in South Australia state, including Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, were also being released ahead of an exhibition tournament in Adelaide on Friday.
This means that players are now free to move around the cities and surrounding regions, so long as they abide by local social distancing restrictions.
Australia has not had a case of community transmission for 11 straight days and residents have regained most of their pre-COVID freedoms, while the CQV said it had not recorded any new infections among the AO cohort on Thursday.
A total of 5 active cases remain, however, who will need to spend longer in quarantine depending on when they tested positive.
Spain’s Paula Badosa was the first player to reveal she had contracted the virus when she tested positive on her 7th day in quarantine and she was moved to a ‘health hotel’ a week ago to begin 14 more days of isolation, prompting her to complain about the conditions to Spanish media.
American Tennys Sandgren, who was among the 72 players put into a stricter quarantine after passengers on their flights to Australia tested positive, was unhappy that he would not be able to check out of isolation until Friday.
“I just found out we’re not going to be able to leave the room until midnight tomorrow, which will put us out close to 15 days in this room,” Sandgren said in a video posted on Instagram. “That’s also another day we can’t practise.”
Sandgren tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago before his flight from Los Angeles but said he was allowed to board following intervention from AO Tournament Director Craig Tiley.
Georgian Oksana Kalashnikova, the women’s World No 63, was also unhappy with her scheduled departure, posting on Twitter: “Why??” and wrote: “When Australian Government orders u to stay another extra day just because.”
A few of the top players in Adelaide, including home hero and women’s World No 1 Ash Barty, will play in a charity exhibition in Adelaide on Friday.
“It’s going to be a really good day in Adelaide,” said Barty, who plays Simona Halep in an evening match. “I can’t wait to get out there.”
AO20 finalist Dominic Thiem plays Rafael Nadal in the other evening match in Adelaide.
“It’s the first day out of quarantine, the first match in front of a crowd for a long time, so I’m super excited,” the Austrian said.