The AOC remains profoundly disappointed that the South Australian Government will not reverse its decision to impose a 28-day quarantine period on South Australian Olympians returning from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll says the AOC has provided compelling scientific evidence in its application for the Team members to be exempted, however there have been no reasons provided why the exemption and subsequent appeal have been rejected.
Mr Carroll says consideration should be given to reducing the period of home quarantine for the athletes, given the decision that has been taken.
"Our concern from the outset has been the mental and physical health of the athletes and we have respected the 14 day quarantine period."
"But without the detailed reasons, it's very hard to understand why these athletes are being required to undergo this additional quarantine period. A reduction in the period of quarantine would be a good outcome."
Mr Carroll sought to make clear the timeline of the ongoing correspondence and discussions between South Australia's Health Department and the AOC.
"We have a decision of National Cabinet on June 28th which agrees no Australian should be required to double quarantine.
- July 20th – email from South Australian Health confirming the national cabinet position while indicating the complexity of interstate border restrictions meant requirements for returning athletes were "clear as mud".
- July 29th – email from South Australian Health confirming double quarantine would be imposed. AOC immediately seeks to re-route athletes from Sydney to other ports (Darwin & Brisbane). First athletes already inbound for Sydney from Tokyo.
- August 5th – AOC applies for dispensation on the grounds Olympians are fully vaccinated, had been tested daily and were living in a biosecure "bubble".
- August 9th – AOC informed its application for exemption is rejected. No reasons are provided as to why AOC scientific evidence was rejected. AOC seeks a reconsideration.
- August 11th – Appeal Panel upholds the rejection of the appeal. No reasons given.
"This group of Olympians is acutely aware of the needs and daily health practices to protect themselves and those around them from the dangers of COVID. To qualify for the Games, compete and return home has required absolute compliance with the Tokyo and AOC biosecurity requirements.
"The AOC has sought to return as many athletes as possible to Australian states prepared to accept them however, the inherent restrictions around caps made avoiding Sydney logistically impossible. The NSW Government had been the most accommodating through that period."
Mr Carroll says the AOC focus is now taking further measures to care for Team members and monitoring of their wellbeing.
"This has been about athlete welfare first and foremost. We have worked with governments across the country on quarantine and the athletes' return without asking for anything special. We could not be more proud of what this Team has achieved," Mr Carroll concluded.