Djokovic’s beliefs and behavior have made headlines throughout the pandemic. In April 2020, he said he opposes vaccines and does not need to get the shot to travel. A few months later, he and his wife tested positive for COVID after they organized and played exhibition matches that violated social distancing recommendations. In October 2021, he said questions about his vaccination status were “inappropriate”.
The tournament’s defending champion surprised many on Tuesday when he posted on social media that he had been granted “exemption permission” to travel to Australia. But, as Melbourne’s Age newspaper first reported, it is not clear whether Djokovic has brought enough evidence to prove his case for immunity.
According to Australian law, foreigners traveling to the country must have a visa and be fully vaccinated. Tennis Australia and officials in Victoria, where Melbourne is based, have made similar requirements for players who want to participate in the Open without first undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
But Australian immunization officials have outlined some temporary vaccine exemptions for its citizens, including people who have had a PCR-confirmed case of COVID in the past six months. It is not clear whether this applies to foreigners seeking to enter Australia, but tennis officials cited these exemptions in their decision to allow Djokovic to participate.
Djokovic was granted an exemption to play in Melbourne, which has endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns as Australia tries to keep the number of COVID cases at zero ahead of widespread vaccination, sparking massive outrage in the country.
Tennis and Victorian officials stressed his application had gone through a “double-blind” review process, but large sections of the Australian public and media railed against the decision.
“I don’t care how good a tennis player he is. If he refuses to get vaccinated, he shouldn’t be allowed in,” wrote Stephen Pernis, former vice-president of the Australian Medical Association. Twitter.
When asked about the tennis player’s immunity at a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that Djokovic “needs to provide admissible evidence” for his claim that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
“We await their presentation and what evidence they provide us to support that,” Morrison said. “If that evidence is insufficient, he will be treated no differently than anyone else and he will be on the next plane home.”
On Wednesday, Morrison’s government suggested they should have a say on allowing Djokovic into the country.
“While the Victorian Government and Tennis Australia may allow an unvaccinated player to compete at the Australian Open, the Commonwealth Government will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said in a statement titled “Australia’. Border rules apply to everyone.
“No special treatment is given to any individual competing in the Australian Open,” Andrews said.
Hunt, the health minister, said the rules were tough but fair. “Australians have had to do it hard,” Hunt said, “and Australians in various states and territories have had to show their vaccination records in some cases to enter premises and cafes and other things, and it’s not unreasonable to have exactly the same. A requirement for everyone entering this country.”