South Australian athletes returning from the Tokyo Olympics face an unexpected 28-day quarantine described as “cruel” by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) on Aug. 11.
The South Australian government has imposed a further mandatory two-week quarantine period for Olympians returning from Tokyo via Sydney, the capital of New South Wales (NSW).
“Due to the high risk of the Delta strain of COVID-19 in NSW, anyone traveling from New South Wales must undertake 14 days quarantine upon entry into South Australia,” the state said in a statement.
The additional quarantine period comes on top of the mandatory two-week quarantine in Sydney, resulting in 28 days of quarantine in total.
AOC labeled the decision as “cruel and uncaring.”
“While other countries are celebrating the return of their athletes, we are subjecting ours to the most cruel and uncaring treatment. They are being punished for proudly representing their country with distinction at the Olympic Games,” AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll said in a statement.
“Not only are our Olympians fully vaccinated, but they have also been living in a highly controlled bubble in Tokyo, taking the upmost precautions — tested daily over many weeks,” Carroll further said.
Caroll also said that South Australia denied AOC’s request for an exemption to the quarantine without giving an explanation.
Australian Institute of Sports Chief Medical Officer David Hughes said that the lengthy quarantine period “poses a significant risk to the physical and mental wellbeing of the individuals concerned.”
Fifty-six members of the Australian Olympic team were returning to South Australia and 16 of them were already undergoing quarantine in Sydney.
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