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Australian Open: Number of COVID-19 cases linked to tournament downgraded to eight

Agency overseeing quarantine of players and officials reclassifies positive Covid case; eight cases now linked to Australian Open, with one person cleared to leave isolation; more than 70 players have been forced to quarantine in hotel rooms for two weeks

Switzerland's Roger Federer and Serbia's Novak Djokovic play their semifinal match on Rod Laver Arena as the sun sets at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Image: The Australian Open is due to begin on February 8

The number of positive COVID-19 tests linked to the Australian Open has been downgraded to eight after authorities reclassified one of the results as a previous infection, health officials said on Wednesday.

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV), the government agency overseeing the quarantine of tennis players and officials ahead of the Grand Slam, said the reclassified case was a man in his 40s who is not a player.

The agency added another positive case had been "medically cleared" to leave isolation, leaving the total number of active cases at seven.

Spain's Paula Badosa was the first player to reveal she had contracted the virus when she tested positive on her seventh day in quarantine. She was moved to a 'health hotel' on Thursday to begin two more weeks of lockdown.

Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, also tested positive after arriving in Melbourne.

No new cases were reported among the Australian Open cohort in quarantine on Wednesday.

More than 70 players have been confined to hotel rooms for two weeks after passengers on three charter flights taking them to Australia tested positive for coronavirus.

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Paula BADOSA (ESP) in the drinking break. GES / Tennis / WTA 125k Series Tournament, 02.08.2019 Tennis: WTA Tournament, LIQUI MOLY Open Karlsruhe, August 2, 2019 | usage worldwide Photo by: Markus Gilliar/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Image: World No 67 Paula Badosa said she felt 'abandoned' by tournament organisers after testing positive for Covid

CQV said the reclassified case on Wednesday had no impact on close contacts of the positive tests on those flights, meaning the affected players and officials would remain in hard quarantine for the remainder of their 14-day isolation.

Other players are allowed five hours outside their rooms each day to train. After the 14-day isolation they will be allowed to train normally and then compete at tune-up events at Melbourne Park ahead of the Grand Slam.

Australia recorded a 10th straight day of no new local COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while Victoria state, which is hosting the Australia Open, has gone three weeks without a local case.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted to mark the 10th day of no community transmission of COVID-19 Australia wide, adding the country's success comes at a time when global coronavirus cases have crossed 100 million with the death toll surpassing two million.

Australia has recorded more than 22,000 local cases since the pandemic began and 909 deaths.

Despite its relative success in handling the pandemic, Australia's international borders will likely remain shut to non-citizens this year although there may be exclusive travel arrangements with its South Pacific neighbours.

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