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The Informer: Serving up quarantine for tennis group

A group of tennis players who flew into Melbourne for the Australian Open from Los Angeles has been told to quarantine. Picture: Shutterstock
A group of tennis players who flew into Melbourne for the Australian Open from Los Angeles has been told to quarantine. Picture: Shutterstock

Cop this serve: a group of tennis players who flew into Melbourne for the Australian Open from Los Angeles will be confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks.

Players and officials on the flight received an email from Tennis Australia, which leaked on Saturday, saying they would not be allowed out to train.

Two people on the fight from LAX returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests when they arrived in Melbourne.

It comes as international airline Emirates suspended its flights to the east coast of Australia, making it even more difficult for stranded Australians to return home.

The abrupt suspension came after national cabinet agreed to cut the cap on international arrivals until February 15. The decision was made after the virus leaked from the hotel quarantine system in Queensland.

A two-day streak of zero cases in NSW came to an end when a western Sydney man tested positive to COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.

Victoria and Queensland reported no new local cases on Saturday, as states reassessed their travel restrictions.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian remained up beat.

"Relief is on its way so long as we maintain low or zero number of cases and have those testing rates high," Ms Berejiklian said on Friday.

In more good news, the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Adjunct Professor John Skerrit, says the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could be approved in days.

"I'm hoping by this time next week, we'll actually have a decision on the first vaccine," Professor Skerritt told The Canberra Times on Friday.

Professor Skerrit's team has been in a race against time to make decisions about the two major vaccines set to be rolled out in Australia, with staff working around the clock to assess the vaccines for efficacy, safety and manufacturing quality and safety.

For many countries, vaccines cannot come soon enough. The worldwide coronavirus death toll has surpassed 2 million.

It took nine months for the world to record 1 million deaths, but only three months for the toll to jump from 1 million to 2 million.

A Reuters tally shows a person has died from COVID-19 complications every eight seconds since the beginning of 2021.

Meanwhile in US landmarks in the country's capital, Washington, shut ahead of Joe Biden's innauguration next week, Mr Biden has said he will order increased production of syringes and other supplies to speed up the vaccine roll out.

"This is a time to set big goals and pursue them with courage and conviction because the health of the nation is literally at stake," Mr Biden said.

And finally to the Netherlands, where ministerial accountability is alive and well.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the resignation of his entire government, which accepted responsibility for years of mismanagement of childcare subsidies.

Wrongful accusations of fraud had driven families to financial ruin. About 10,000 families had been forced to repay tens of thousands of euros leading in some cases to unemployment, bankruptcies and divorces.

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