(Sydney) Australian athletes returning from the Olympics must adhere to an exceptional 28-day quarantine on their return to the state of South Australia as part of the regional authorities’ new anti-COVID-19 measures, a decision made by several sports officials in outraged the country.
Posted on Aug 11, 2021 at 9:07 am
All travelers entering Australia from abroad are typically subject to a 14-day quarantine.
But the government of the state of South Australia, whose capital is Adelaide, recently decided to double the length of this quarantine for travelers who could not enter on a direct flight from abroad.
This new measure affects 56 athletes from the Australian delegation to the Olympic Games. Sixteen are already in quarantine in Sydney, where they left Tokyo.
“As other countries celebrate the return of their athletes, we are subjecting ours to the most cruel and despicable treatments,” said Australian Olympic Committee President Matt Carroll sharply.
“They are being punished for proudly representing their country by excelling at the Olympics,” the leader continued, protesting the fate of Australian athletes who won 46 medals, including 17 gold, from the Olympics , have returned, making Australia the sixth country on the medal table.
The Australian NOC’s request for exemption from 14-day quarantine for South Australian residents was denied on the assumption that the risk of contagion to its athletes was “extremely low”.
“Quarantining people for such a long period of time is, in my opinion, unreasonable and scientifically unjustifiable,” said Australian Sports Institute physician David Hughes.
In addition, according to him, this extended quarantine “poses a significant risk (of deterioration) to the physical and mental health of those affected”.
The South Australian state government did not respond to the criticism on Wednesday.
Thanks to very strict enforcement measures on tracing, border blocking, containment and testing, Australia has recorded just over 37,000 cases and 944 deaths among a population of 25 million, according to the Department of Health.
But an increase in the number of cases due to the Delta variant since the beginning of June has led to a new prison sentence of several weeks for residents of the country’s largest cities.