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Health security model allows the Australian Open 2021 to go ahead safely with 1200 participants from 100 different countries taking part

PROJECT

Health security at the Australian Open 2021 

Background

The Australian Open, one of the major international Grand Slam tennis tournaments, is generally held in Melbourne in January. The 2021 event was scheduled to begin on 18 January but, due to COVID-19 border closures and the need for players and their support teams to quarantine, the event was postponed to until 8 February 2021 and the qualifying events were held outside Australia.

But how was such, run safely in the middle of a pandemic?

Working with Tennis Australia and the Victorian Government, Aspen Medical developed an operational model that addressed health security. This model would allow the Australian Open, a large-scale event, with over 1200 participants from 100 different countries, and with spectators allowed for part of the event, to go ahead safely, whilst protecting the community.

In conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV), Aspen Medical provided a concept of operation as well as delivering specific services. These services included:

  • daily health and wellbeing screening, testing, medical management support for COVID-19
  • primary healthcare support and referral services
  • IPC education and training
  • support for cohorting to allow for player training during quarantine
  • staffing resources, including GPs, nurses and telehealth consultants to support individuals in quarantine.

Over 1200 participants and support staff from 100 different countries were supported through this quarantine process. All staff supporting the quarantine facilities were tested and supported during the quarantine period by Aspen Medical. Importantly, and as testament to the careful design and execution of protocols in place during the event, COVID-19 was not transmitted to the community or to the Aspen Medical team providing the health services.

Challenges

  • politically sensitive
  • defining the cohorts to minimise risk of COVID-19 positive and close contacts
  • changing circumstances right up to and through event.