Winter Games: Australian athletes going into quarantine

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The athletes are in quarantine to get rid of flu-like symptoms Australian athletes will spend three nights in quarantine on a tropical island, just like any “summer or…

Winter Games: Australian athletes going into quarantine

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The athletes are in quarantine to get rid of flu-like symptoms

Australian athletes will spend three nights in quarantine on a tropical island, just like any “summer or winter” tourists would.

But this time, the supposed holiday is all part of an Olympics-wide effort to contain the spread of the winter flu ahead of next month’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Officials are allowing athletes and officials, as well as hundreds of athletes’ families, to remain in quarantine.

That’s despite the fact that Australia’s vice-president of athletics wrote a letter to the Australian Associated Press that described the quarantine as “a disgrace”.

In a statement to the BBC, Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Mark Adams insisted the squad would be treated fairly and had been promised they could leave “as quickly as possible”.

Australia’s state and federal governments are involved in the vaccination and prevention programme, and support the move, said Adams.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Australia’s vice-president of athletics wrote to the Australian Associated Press that he was “horrified” by the measures

“In recent years, the AOC has consistently worked with all the relevant authorities – both nationally and internationally – to combat influenza during winter,” he said.

“The latest exercise we are undertaking is designed to avoid the spread of the disease within the Olympic family and if we are successful, there will be no spread of the disease into the general public.”

The US, Canada and Germany are among a few countries that have not imposed any quarantine of their own, which some say makes this a precedent setting measure.

The AOC has announced it will no longer take any more athletes to Korea on training or goodwill trips, and will also suspend the scholarships of any involved athletes.

Australia have already sent “a very strict delegation”, according to AFP. According to Associated Press, the Australians will cover expenses and will be allowed to stay at one of four hotels while on the South Korean island of Jeju.

The International Olympic Committee said quarantine had to be imposed for health reasons.

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