It has been 5 days because the final chartered aircraft load of gamers and officers flew into the nation and headed into quarantine earlier than the beginning of the Australian Open on February 8.
Event director Craig Tiley stated these 5 days have felt like a yr.
“There’s been so much happening,” he stated, as he opened a briefing session with the Australian media.
The gamers in quarantine are counting down; they’re into single digits with 9 days of the necessary 14 remaining.
The controversy and debate surrounding the occasion has been dealt with elsewhere however burying into the numbers of what has already occurred with out a single ball being served supplies a novel perspective on what’s required to run an occasion within the COVID-19 period.
These previous 5 days alone have been a “huge, huge logistical train” in response to Tiley.
Gamers from 100 international locations had been flown in on 17 constitution flights, departing from seven completely different cities and arriving within the house of 48 hours to be checked into three completely different inns.
Three of these flights had passengers who examined optimistic to COVID-19 and had been taken to medi-hotels.
Others on board these flights had been thought of shut contacts and put into laborious lockdown, together with 72 gamers who’ve shared their training sessions, opinions, complaints and suggestions with the world by way of numerous social media platforms.
There have been round 2,500 COVID checks performed on the arrivals to this point.
Within the first spherical of testing those that did not initially take a look at optimistic had been cleared of getting the virus, though there have been some circumstances displaying viral shedding the place the person shouldn’t be contagious however exhibits outcomes of getting had COVID someday within the previous months.
“Our goal all alongside was to make sure that we had been going to have an surroundings that was protected for the neighborhood,” Tiley stated.
“Melburnians, Victorians, Australians have paid a large worth for the state of affairs we’re in right this moment and that is to haven’t any neighborhood unfold.
“And that worth as you all know was a tough lockdown for many people for a very long time.
“So we paid the worth and now we’re able the place we’ve got the gamers and all of our worldwide visitors, 1,270 of them, doing the identical factor — 14 days in quarantine, the place you get examined every single day.”
There are nonetheless one other 5,000 to six,000 checks to be performed over the remaining days of quarantine.
There are two forms of quarantine for gamers
On high of that was the logistics of co-ordinating the actions of these gamers who weren’t in laborious lockdown however in a modified quarantine plan the place they might depart their rooms for 5 hours a day to coach.
“That is for 2 hours of follow, 90 minutes of fitness center after which half an hour for diet,” Tiley stated.
These hours are fastidiously monitored and coordinated together with journey preparations with door-to-door navy precision.
“Every room will get a knock on the door inside 5 minutes of one another,” Tiley defined.
Through the time gamers are shifting round no different exercise can happen on that ground, together with meals deliveries to different rooms.
As soon as the gamers depart their rooms they’re escorted by the police or COVID marshalls to their coaching venues the place they’re dropped off at particular areas — there isn’t any interplay or crossing over with anyone else within the surroundings.
After they depart their rooms the entire space is sprayed with disinfectant.
When their time is up, they’re escorted again to their rooms individually and the widespread areas the gamers have walked by way of are sprayed once more to kill any attainable traces of the virus.
Tennis Australia has 650 workers however often not all are required for the Australian Open.
This time they’ve been.
No one is working lower than 18 hours a day and a few have “pulled all-nighters” in response to Tiley who admits it is “not sustainable”.
“If we glance again at these 5 days, I do not assume any of us had grasped the problem that you’ve got in managing such a mammoth process,” he stated.
“The contingencies we put in place had been round if a flight was taken out, within the unlikely occasion that was to occur, and it did occur thrice.”
Australia’s strict well being laws no barrier to event
In explaining why some gamers appeared shocked by the laborious lockdown they discovered themselves in, Tiley factors to the very fact gamers have been competing all over the world since final October.
Every nation has a distinct strategy to COVID security and Australia’s regulations are possibly the strictest in the world, together with New Zealand.
Tiley says it is “been a shock” to a number of the gamers they usually “wanted to adapt”.
The event director has been requested many occasions why he would put the occasion on given the expense, the exhaustion of economic reserves and the dangers of bringing so many individuals in.
He stated if all of the dangers might be mitigated there was no motive to cancel.
“If we are able to assure the protection of the neighborhood, that is the 1st step; work carefully with the well being workplace, with the federal government they usually approve a proposal to run an occasion a sure approach, step two; persuade a taking part in group to come back to Australia underneath these circumstances which might be robust, step three; have an occasion deliberate and in place that we are able to fund and pay prize cash, in reality over $83 million for the entire summer season, have an occasion plan in place that may be sustainable, that may have crowds and that the gamers may full freely in, that is step 4; after which have the sources and the group and the bravery to place one thing like this collectively when it hasn’t been completed anyplace but on the planet globally to this extent because the pandemic began, step 5; we should always go for it.
“There’s nonetheless an extended strategy to go and it’ll have it is ups and downs… however because it stands proper now it is fairly good.”