Djokovic’s beliefs and conduct have made headlines all through the pandemic. In April 2020, he mentioned he was against vaccines and that he wouldn’t wish to be required to obtain a shot to be able to journey. Simply months later, he and his spouse examined constructive for COVID after he organized and performed in exhibition matches that flouted social distancing suggestions. In October 2021, he mentioned that questions on his vaccination standing had been “inappropriate.”
The match’s defending champion had shocked many Tuesday when he posted on social media that he had been granted an “exemption permission” to journey to Australia. However, as Melbourne’s Age newspaper first reported, it was not clear whether or not Djokovic had introduced adequate proof to show his exemption purpose.
Underneath Australian regulation, foreigners touring into the nation should have a visa and be absolutely vaccinated. Tennis Australia and officers in Victoria, the place Melbourne is situated, made comparable necessities for gamers who needed to take part within the Open with out first endeavor a compulsory 14-day quarantine.
However Australian immunization officers had outlined some non permanent vaccine exemptions for its residents, which embody individuals who have had a PCR-confirmed case of COVID within the final six months. It’s not clear if these apply to foreigners searching for to enter Australia, however tennis officers had pointed to those exemptions of their choice to permit Djokovic to take part.
That Djokovic was granted an exemption to play in Melbourne, which endured one of many longest lockdowns on the earth as Australia sought to maintain COVID circumstances at zero previous to widespread vaccination, brought on an enormous outcry within the nation.
Tennis and Victorian officers harassed his utility had gone by a “double blind” evaluation course of, however giant sections of the Australian public and media railed towards the choice.
“I do not care how good a tennis participant he’s. If he is refusing to get vaccinated, he should not be allowed in,” former Australian Medical Affiliation vp Stephen Parnis wrote on Twitter.
Requested concerning the tennis participant’s exemption at a press convention on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison informed reporters Djokovic would wish to “present acceptable proof” for his declare that he couldn’t be vaccinated for medical causes.
“We await his presentation and what proof he gives us to assist that,” Morrison mentioned. “If that proof is inadequate, then he will not be handled any completely different to anybody else, and he’ll be on the following airplane residence.”
On Wednesday, Morrison’s authorities indicated that they’d have a say on whether or not Djokovic can be allowed into the nation.
“Whereas the Victorian Authorities and Tennis Australia might allow a non-vaccinated participant to compete within the Australian Open, it’s the Commonwealth Authorities that may implement our necessities on the Australian border,” House Affairs Minister Karen Andrews mentioned in an announcement titled “Australia’s border guidelines apply to everybody.”
“No particular person competing on the Australian Open will probably be afforded any particular therapy,” Andrews mentioned.
Hunt, the well being minister, mentioned the principles had been powerful however honest. “Australians have needed to do it powerful,” Hunt mentioned, “and Australians in many alternative states and territories have needed to present their vaccination data in some circumstances to enter premises and cafés and different issues, and it isn’t unreasonable to have precisely the identical requirement for all who enter this nation.”