Australian Open quarantine workers attended party just days before colleague tested positive for COVID-19

The 26-year-old who caught the virus last attended the Grand Hyatt Hotel - where star players have been staying - on January 29.
The 26-year-old who caught the virus last attended the Grand Hyatt Hotel - where star players have been staying - on January 29. Photo credit: Getty

Dozens of quarantine workers involved in the Australian Open tennis tournament attended a party just days before one of their colleagues tested positive for COVID-19, it has been revealed.

The positive test forced players who had travelled to Melbourne back into quarantine, just when the prestige sporting event looked to be on track.

The 26-year-old who caught the virus works for the Australian Open quarantine programme and last attended the Grand Hyatt Hotel - where star players have been staying - on January 29.

He tested positive on Wednesday, throwing further uncertainty around the Open, which is scheduled to begin in a matter of days.

All players, officials and support staff are considered casual contacts, and must isolate and be tested before they can return to competition. 

Now it has been revealed that the government agency overseeing Victoria's hotel quarantine system threw a party for workers just days before the positive test.

According to 7 News, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) said around 60 workers at The View Hotel were invited to the party, which was held just days before their colleague across town returned a positive test.

"CQV held a small function to thank operational staff including team leaders, site and general managers for their considerable efforts in facilitating the complex quarantine program for the Australian Open," a spokesperson told 7 News, adding that the event was held outside and strict COVID gathering protocols were taken.

The man who tested positive was not at the event, but the revelation has led to a shake-up of the testing regime hotel quarantine workers undertake, 7 News reported.

All workers will now be tested daily, even when they are not working.

So far 15 of the infected worker's 17 close contacts have returned negative tests, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying things "are looking positive".

However, he warned the situation could change quickly, adding "we aren't out of the woods yet".