Fears were growing on Friday that a possible snap lockdown in Melbourne due to a flare-up of COVID-19 cases at an isolation hotel could impact the Australian Open.

Local media reported that nine cases in an airport Holiday Inn which has been housing arriving passengers with positive virus tests could lead to a shutdown across the metropolis.

The Open, set to begin Day 5 on Friday would be affected, with the first consequence a likely ban on crowds.inside Melbourne Park.

The Grand Slam has operated this week with a limit of 30,000 daily  ticketholders through the gates with the grounds divided into three distinct zones with hard crowd borders separating them

The most who showed up were just over 21,000 on Thursday.

The Herald-Sun reported that officials have been ordered to proceed with planning for a lockdown which could begin as early as Friday evening.

Ticketholders are now worried about possible repercussions and have taken to social media.

The Open is being staged amid tight anti-virus measures; players were brought in on special charter flights and put through 14 days of quarantine. One positive case among a competitor turned up.

Other Australian cities including Perth and Brisbane have locked down for short five-day periods in recent weeks to quell outbreaks of COVID positive tests, with grocery stores and other necessary shopping outlets remaining open but citizens confined to their homes except for specified instances.

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