Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa over COVID-19 vaccine coverage

Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa was canceled Wednesday after he “failed to offer applicable proof to satisfy the entry necessities to Australia,” the nation’s border pressure introduced. The tennis star had been caught in an Australian airport as officers tried to work by points associated to his COVID-19 vaccine exemption for the upcoming Australian Open, Reuters reported.

“Non-citizens who don’t maintain a legitimate visa on entry or who’ve had their visa cancelled shall be detained and faraway from Australia,” the border pressure mentioned. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison additionally spoke concerning the choice, tweeting that “Guidelines are guidelines, particularly in terms of our borders.”

“Nobody is above these guidelines,”  he wrote. “Our sturdy border insurance policies have been essential to Australia having one of many lowest dying charges on this planet from COVID, we’re persevering with to be vigilant.”

On Tuesday, Djokovic introduced that he had been granted a medical exemption for the Open — a call that rapidly sparked backlash in Australia. Djokovic has not publicly disclosed whether or not he has been vaccinated. 

Match officers mentioned in an announcement that he was granted the medical exemption after a “rigorous evaluate course of” that included two separate unbiased panels of consultants, that are made up of docs from immunology, infectious illness and common follow.

However when Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday, officers realized that his group had utilized for a kind of visa that doesn’t allow vaccine exemptions, Reuters reported. The appearing sports activities minister within the state of Victoria — which holds the Open — mentioned the state wouldn’t assist Djokovic’s visa utility and deferred to the federal authorities on whether or not to permit the tennis star within the nation.

Djokovic’s capability to enter the nation is now within the palms of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in line with Reuters. Earlier Wednesday, Morrison had mentioned that Djokovic wanted to offer “acceptable proof that he can’t be vaccinated for medical causes” earlier than getting into the nation. 

“If that proof is inadequate, then he will not be handled any totally different to anybody else and he’ll be on the following aircraft dwelling,” Morrison mentioned on the time.

A Serbian tennis fan waves a flag as he awaits the arrival of Serbia’s tennis champion Novak Djokovic in Melbourne on Thursday. After arriving in Melbourne late on Wednesday, world primary Novak Djokovic might have encountered a late snag on his journey to play within the Australian Open, after state authorities officers refused to assist his visa utility.

WILLIAM WEST/AFP through Getty Pictures

Whereas some fellow tennis gamers welcomed Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open, girls’s high ranked tennis participant and Australian Ashleigh Barty mentioned she understands why individuals are “pissed off” with the choice to permit him play. 

Australian Open director Craig Tiley mentioned gamers, followers and employees on the event should be absolutely vaccinated until there is a cause why an exemption ought to be granted.

The backlash in opposition to Djokovic’s exemption comes because the nation’s residents have handled strict COVID-related measures. In Melbourne, folks have spent greater than 260 days beneath lockdown for the reason that starting of the pandemic, in line with the BBC. 

Djokovic has 9 Australian Open titles, and he received the final three. He’s at present in a three-way tie with tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for essentially the most Grand Slam singles titles. 

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