Melbourne starts snap virus lockdown, no crowds at Australian Open

Melbourne in new lockdown, bars fans from Australian Open

The stands at the Australian Open will be looking quite empty for the next five days after officials in the state of Victoria called for a five-day lockdown of the region.

"A lot of people will be hurting today".

"We will have more to say with the passage of time and more results ... we are well-placed right now, but right now is too early to be definitive about Wednesday evening", Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

Global flights to Melbourne will be stopped through Wednesday, after five en-route, with about 100 passengers, land on Saturday.

Warm-up tournaments were further cast into disarray last week when a coronavirus case - Melbourne's first locally acquired infection in 28 days - forced a suspension of play with hundreds of players and officials ordered to get tested.

Queensland Health has confirmed all 1500 people, feared to have come into contact with a positive COVID-19 case at Melbourne Airport, have been tracked down.

"It's contained in that sense".

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has played down speculation Greek tennis player Michail Pervolarakis could have infected fellow tennis players in Australia.

Streets in downtown Melbourne, the state's capital, and its suburbs were nearly empty on Saturday, with people ordered to stay home for all but essential shopping, two hours of outdoor exercise, caregiving, or work that can not be done from home.

The 24-year-old took on Australia's John Millman and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the round robin tournament at Melbourne Park on Friday February 5.

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Cheers quickly turned to a smattering of boos from the crowd when play was briefly suspended at 11:30 pm local time on Friday while top seed Novak Djokovic was in action, as spectators were asked to leave the arena ahead of the midnight deadline. "Packed crowds, it's something we've missed in the game".

"It was a bit disturbing - in some ways sad".

For the duration of the lockdown, the players will be transported between a Melbourne Park "bubble" and their residences, where they will endure the same restrictions as everyone else.

"It's the busiest weekend of the year for us".

"Just to clarify few things... got tested negative in Melbourne before leaving and the nurse said that I most likely got it on the plane or on my stop in Doha".

"Just fingers crossed that it only does extend for the short period of five days", he said.

More broadly, Australia has been among the world's most successful countries in handling the pandemic, largely because of decisive lockdowns and borders sealed to all but a trickle of travellers. With a population of 25 million, there have been around 22,200 community cases and 909 deaths.

The state recorded one new case of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total cases in an outbreak of the United Kingdom strain to 14.

Andrews se said the latest COVID-19 cases had nothing to do with the tennis quarantine program.

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