Australian government issues guidelines for Australian Open security

Women’s Australian Open tennis have received some official advice from the government this week, and it is not in their favor.

New Rules & Guidelines for LTA Championship Match Contracts (for players only)

I’ve reviewed the LTA Championship contract guidelines for players only and I believe these are good recommendations.

• All players must be vaccinated against Polio from the date they turn 18.

• All players must be vaccinated for Diarrhoea, Typhoid, Ipv and Haemophilus Influenzae.

• All players must have their teeth filed as well as a CT scan of the head before, during and after a tournament.

These were the guidelines released by the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Bridget McKenzie. She explained that they came about after a Victorian Coroner’s inquest, which suggested the LTA put out guidelines for player security. The coroner said the protection of players needed to be improved due to the changing security threats “in respect of the highly contagious diseases and tensions experienced in the last 12 months, particularly for the more vulnerable Australian Open players”.

McKenzie said her office had conducted a “formal investigation” and concluded “the recommendations in the coroner’s report reflect the advice we are receiving from national and state health authorities and major medical health insurance providers.

“It is important to recognise the significance of vaccines for a player such as Nick Kyrgios, who is currently under intensive monitoring by the Australian Medical Association and the All Medical Board. At the request of these authorities, Kyrgios must remain fully vaccinated for the remainder of his career”.

The government also warned parents to contact their GP about their children and ensure they are fully vaccinated against polio until 18, even if the medicine does not still contain the vaccine. The virus is still freely available in many countries, including Australia.

The specifics of the players’ security at the Australian Open have already been a highly debated topic. The top-seeded men’s player, Rafael Nadal, became the latest player to threaten to withdraw after an outbreak of yellow fever among competitors at the 2017 French Open last month. Nadal suggested in a post-match interview that he would consider withdrawing if the tournament organizers did not require vaccinations for players.

His comments led Tennis Australia to issue a statement, saying they would not ask players to have their vaccinations processed on site. They argued that imposing the measures “which would put any player at a risk” would not be in the interests of “the whole tennis community”.

Under the guidelines recently released by the government, a contact for anyone who wants to make a complaint must present a medical certificate from a government-approved dentist confirming that teeth are well looked after. Those with deeper concerns can fill out a form for police officers, Australian Federal Police and the Immigration Department. The Form DD comes with a receipt, or a medical note, which must be verified by a health professional before the performance is released to the public.

The Australia Post will then hand the notice to the tournament’s security team, and alert them if the form is accepted, before sealing it within the post office.

Minister McKenzie said she hoped these guidelines would strengthen security for both staff and competitors at the Australian Open.

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