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Nick Kyrgios pumps up the crowd. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis fans will be prohibited from attending the Australian Open as the state of Victoria prepares for a five-day lockdown in response to new COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: The lockdown comes after an outbreak at a Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport that was being used to house returned travelers.

Driving the news: The cluster of cases linked to the hotel grew to 13 on Thursday night, with five new cases emerging, per AP.

  • As of Friday morning, the state's active case tally was 19.

Where it stands: Life had returned to near normalcy in the state of Victoria, with bars packed full of unmasked patrons. But now, over 6 million Victorians will only be able to leave home for essential shopping, work, exercise and caregiving.

  • Schools will be closed Monday through Wednesday, gatherings are off-limits, and masks will be required everywhere.

Yes, but: Tennis players are classified as "workers" and will be permitted to continue their matches. The minimum number of staff required to safely run the event will also be present, while everyone else will be asked to work remotely.

The backdrop: The Australian Open had hoped to welcome nearly 400,000 fans and avoid a "bubble" by having players "hard quarantine" upon their arrival.

  • Tennis Australia faced backlash for this, but the strategy had worked so far, with players expressing gratitude for the opportunity to play in front of fans.
  • Now, the tournament will continue without spectators, just like September's U.S. Open in New York.

On the court, Australian Nick Kyrgios nearly upset No. 3 Dominic Thiem in front of an electric crowd that entered lockdown right after the match ended (around 7am ET) — and knew they wouldn't be back for at least five days.

  • The match went five sets and was as thrilling as it gets, with lots of underhand serves from Kyrgios and a ton of grit from Thiem.
  • Serena Williams advanced to the fourth round where she'll play No. 8 Aryna Sabalenka for the first time.

Go deeper

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.