Australian Open to continue despite coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne, but without fans

The Australian Open will continue as normal but without fans for at least five days after a snap coronavirus lockdown was announced in Victoria.

So far the stands at Melbourne Park have been around 30% full, and they have certainly made their presence felt.

However, a fresh coronavirus outbreak has hit Melbourne, fueled by the more transmissible UK strain, with 13 new cases now confirmed.

It means that from Friday morning, Melbourne residents will be restricted to their homes for five days and will be unable to return to the Australian Open until the quarter-final stage at the earliest.

“The UK strain is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“I am confident that this short, sharp circuit breaker will be effective. I want to be here next Wednesday announcing that these restrictions are coming off.

“Any number of other large and small professional sport events, they will function essentially as a workplace,” Andrews said.

“But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds.

“And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be Covid-safe and safe in lots of other contexts.”

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