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 by way of 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 mentioned. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison additionally spoke concerning the determination, 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 call that shortly sparked backlash in Australia. Djokovic has not publicly disclosed whether or not he has been vaccinated. 

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

But when Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday, officers realized that his workforce 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 software and deferred to the federal authorities on whether or not to permit the tennis star within the nation.

Djokovic’s potential to enter the nation is now within the palms of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in keeping with Reuters. Earlier Wednesday, Morrison had mentioned 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 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 software.

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 mentioned she understands why individuals are “frustrated” with the choice to permit him play. 

Australian Open director Craig Tiley mentioned gamers, followers and workers on the match should be absolutely vaccinated except 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 because the starting of the pandemic, in keeping with the BBC. 

Djokovic has 9 Australian Open titles, and he received 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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