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A tennis player (C) leaves hotel quarantine for a training session in Melbourne on Tuesday. The players to test positive for COVID-19 have not been publicly identified. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Two tennis players are among seven people involved in the Australian Open to test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne, health authorities in the state of Victoria said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some tennis stars including men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic had sent a letter demanding Victorian authorities ease strict coronavirus quarantine rules for players ahead of the season-opening tennis major's start on Feb. 8.

The big picture: 72 players were required to fully isolate in their hotel rooms for 14 days after five people traveling on the same charter flights as them and others connected to the tournament tested positive for the virus.

  • Other players who weren't on those flights are allowed to train outside for certain periods.

What they're saying: Victorian Premier Dan Andrews told reporters Monday the same rules applied to tennis players as everybody else.

  • Andrews said the players had been briefed on quarantine conditions. "There's no special treatment here," he said. "The virus doesn't treat you specially, so neither do we."
  • Outspoken Australian player Nick Kyrgios responded to Djokovic's complaint by tweeting, "Djokovic is a tool."

For the record: State capital Melbourne had one of the world's longest lockdowns, with restrictions in place for 139 days before being lifted last October.

  • Victoria has now gone 13 consecutive days with no new locally acquired coronavirus cases, according to the state Health Department.
  • There are currently 34 active cases in the state, including three infections in the community.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

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Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.