After an initial COVID-19 medical exemption, Novak Djokovic was refused entrance into Australia.
Novak Djokovic’s chances of winning his 10th Australian Open championship were put in jeopardy on Thursday after the government refused him entrance and terminated his visa after he failed to fulfil the standards for a COVID-19 vaccine exemption.
Djokovic, the world number one, announced on social media on Tuesday that he had won the tournament “exemption permission” and arrived in Australia late Wednesday after receiving a medical exemption from Victoria’s state government, which was expected to exempt him from the country’s strict vaccination requirements for the year’s first major tennis tournament.
The exception, however, was not accepted by border officials. Djokovic failed to satisfy entrance standards, according to the Australian Border Force.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference on Thursday that the regulation is “quite clear.” “A medical exception is required. He didn’t have a medical exemption that was legitimate. We make the decision at the border, and it is enforced there.”
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According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, Djokovic’s visa was revoked after border officers examined his medical exemption “”I’m looking at the integrity and evidence behind it.”
The president of Djokovic’s home country, Serbia, slammed the decision “The celebrity, who was held overnight at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, was accused of ‘harassment.’ The 20-time major champion had to wait at the airport for more than eight hours to find out whether he would be permitted to enter the nation. Later, he was transferred to a secure hotel in Melbourne’s downtown area, which is monitored by immigration officers.
The revocation of Djokovic’s visa has been challenged in Australia’s Federal Circuit Court by his attorneys. After Judge Anthony Kelly said that he had not received papers from Djokovic’s attorneys, the hearing was postponed until 6 p.m.
The matter has been set for a full hearing on Monday, although government attorneys have retained the possibility to seek an order removing Djokovic from the country before that date.
Tennis Australia had reminded Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood, that they wanted to know about his participation in the event by Tuesday. “The tail won’t be wagging the dog here,” Kelly said.
The Australian Open starts on January 17th.
Kelly inquired whether Djokovic had “tennis practise facilities” at the hotel where he was kept, and if not, if he might be transported to one that did, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
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Morrison stated on Twitter on Thursday, “No one is exempt from the rules. Our tough border rules have contributed to Australia having one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in the world, and we will remain alert.”
Later, in response to inquiries about the disparity between state and federal regulations, Morrison said it was up to individual visitors to arrive with the proper documents.
The prime minister denied that Djokovic was being singled out, although he did accept that other players may be in Australia on the same medical waiver.
“One of the things the Border Force does is use information to focus its attention on probable arrivals,” he said. “When individuals make public comments about what they claim to have and want to achieve, they attract a lot of attention to themselves.”
Anyone who does that is a jerk “Whether they’re a star, a politician, or a tennis player, they can anticipate to be asked more questions before you arrive than others.”
The medical exemptions, which were evaluated by two independent committees of experts and based on anonymous information provided by players and accepted at face value, were intended to enable Djokovic to compete in the Australian Open regardless of his COVID-19 vaccination status.
He has already spoken out against vaccinations and has declined to admit if he has got any coronavirus immunizations.
Srdjan Djokovic, his father, informed the B92 internet page that his son was detained at the airport “Two police officers are stationed in a room that no one can access.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic revealed on Instagram that he talked to Djokovic at the airport before his visa was cancelled. Serbian authorities, according to Vucic, are taking steps “to end the harassment of the greatest tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period.”
Morrison acknowledged that the Serbian embassy in Canberra had made “representations,” but disputed the allegations of harassment.
“Australia has sovereign borders and non-discriminatory regulations,” Morrison said.
Vucic had called the Australian embassy in Belgrade, according to Serbian media, and requested that Djokovic be freed and permitted to play.
Djokovic’s announcement on social media that he was travelling to Australia in search of a record 21st major championship sparked outrage among Australians, who were outraged that he had been given an entry visa. Critics questioned his eligibility for the exemption, while supporters maintained that he had a right to privacy and freedom of choice.
Craig Tiley, the director of the Australian Open, defended the event “”It’s a totally valid application and procedure,” he said, insisting that Djokovic received no preferential treatment.
Only fully vaccinated players, staff, spectators, and officials will be allowed inside Melbourne Park when the event starts, according to the Victoria government.
Only 26 persons associated with the event asked for a medical exemption, according to Tiley, and only a few were approved “‘Only a few” were granted. None of the players have been named publicly.
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Acute significant medical issues, a serious adverse response to a prior dose of COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a COVID-19 infection within the last six months are all valid causes for an exemption. Morrison, on the other hand, said on Thursday that Tennis Australia had been told some months ago that a recent infection did not fulfil the exemption requirements.
In June 2020, Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus after participating in a series of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia that he scheduled without social distancing during the epidemic.
On Thursday, Australia witnessed another day of growing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, raising worries that modifications to testing standards might conceal the outbreak’s real scope. The nation recorded 72,000 cases, up from 64,000 the day before, with 3,267 hospitalizations and 208 patients in critical care, up from 2,990. Six people died and 21,997 new cases were reported in Victoria, the largest daily increase in infections since the epidemic started.
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