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

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa was canceled Wednesday after he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia,” the nation’s border power introduced. The tennis star had been caught in an Australian airport as officers tried to work via points associated to his COVID-19 vaccine exemption for the upcoming Australian Open, Reuters reported.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia,” the border power stated. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison additionally spoke concerning the choice, tweeting that “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.”

“No one is above these rules,”  he wrote. “Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

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

Tournament officers stated in a press release that he was granted the medical exemption after a “rigorous review process” that included two separate unbiased panels of consultants, that are made up of docs from immunology, infectious illness and common observe.

But when Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday, officers realized that his workforce had utilized for a sort of visa that doesn’t allow vaccine exemptions, Reuters reported. The performing sports activities minister within the state of Victoria — which holds the Open — stated 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 means to enter the nation is now within the fingers of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, based on Reuters. Earlier Wednesday, Morrison had stated that Djokovic wanted to offer “acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons” earlier than getting into the nation. 

“If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home,” Morrison stated 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 could 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 Images

While some fellow tennis gamers welcomed Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open, ladies’s high ranked tennis participant and Australian Ashleigh Barty stated she understands why individuals are “frustrated” with the choice to permit him play. 

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

The backlash towards Djokovic’s exemption comes because the nation’s residents have handled strict COVID-related measures. In Melbourne, individuals have spent greater than 260 days underneath lockdown for the reason that starting of the pandemic, based on the BBC. 

Djokovic has 9 Australian Open titles, and he gained the final three. He is 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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