Affiliate

Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa to enter country – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa to enter country – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
Written by publishing team

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic may not be able to defend his title in 2021 after his visa to enter Australia was revoked after he protested his controversial “medical exemption” from the country’s coronavirus vaccination rules.

Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 tennis player, has not publicly disclosed his vaccination status – but at a news conference on Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he “does not have a valid medical exemption” from the vaccination requirement for all access.

“Entering on a visa requires a double vaccination or a medical exemption,” Morrison said. “I was informed that this exemption was not in effect and, as a result, is subject to the same rules as everyone else.”

“There are many visas granted, if you have a visa and you have been vaccinated twice, you are very welcome to come here,” he added. “But if you haven’t been vaccinated twice and you’re not an Australian resident or citizen, well, you can’t come.”

The 34-year-old traveled to Melbourne after tournament organizers, jointly with Victoria’s Department of Health, said he had been given a medical exemption from play but had been banned at the border and told he did not meet the required entry rules.

On Thursday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was up to Djokovic whether he wanted to appeal the decision – “but if the visa is revoked, someone will have to leave the country.”

Djokovic’s legal team has sought an urgent injunction against the Australian Border Force’s decision to revoke his visa. The country’s federal court has delayed its decision until Monday on whether he will be allowed to remain in Australia or be deported, according to Reuters and public broadcaster ABC.

ABC reports that Djokovic will remain in Australia overnight as the injunction will be issued in the courts.

Supporters of Djokovic gathered on Thursday outside Melbourne’s Park Hotel, where he was allegedly transferred after being detained at the airport, according to Seven Network affiliate CNN and Nine News. The hotel was previously used as a Covid-19 quarantine hotel for returning travelers, but now serves as a detention facility for asylum seekers and refugees.

Djokovic has previously voiced his opposition to compulsory Covid-19 vaccines, saying he personally “opposes vaccination” during a Facebook Live chat. He contracted the virus in June 2020, but since then there have been no reports of him being infected again.

The controversy comes as Australia faces a growing outbreak, after it reported a record high number of daily new cases for several days in a row.

Tournament organizers said earlier that the Serbian player, who is trying to break the record for the most men’s Grand Slam titles, had been given a medical exemption from participating in the prestigious tennis tournament.

The exemption was met with controversy when Djokovic traveled to Melbourne on Wednesday.

According to Australian news outlets The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Border Force (ABF) contacted the Victoria state government after learning of a problem with the visa provided by Djokovic’s team as they headed into the country.

The Asian Football Confederation confirmed in a statement that the 34-year-old player’s visa had been revoked for failing to provide proper evidence to enter the country.

“The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those who reach our borders comply with our laws and entry requirements,” the statement read.

After confirming the decision, Morrison wrote on Twitter that Djokovic is subject to the same rules as everyone else. “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. Nobody is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia, which has one of the lowest death rates in the world from Covid, and we continue to be vigilant,” he wrote.

Players were told that they would need to be fully vaccinated in order to participate or receive medical exemption by an independent panel of experts.

The vaccine exemption sparked a backlash in Australia.

Deputy Victorian Liberal Leader David Southwick called resolution Allowing Djokovic to take part in this year’s tournament is a “disgrace”, calling it a “blow in the guts for every Victorian” who has endured months of lockdown and suffered personal setbacks during the pandemic.

As events unfolded, Djokovic’s father, Sergean Djokovic, told a Serbian radio station that his son was being held “captive” by Australian officials after mixing up his visa application.

He told Serbian radio station B92 that his son was staying in a room that no one could enter, and two policemen were at the front of the room.

“I have no idea what is going on. They are holding my two sons for five hours,” Srdjan Djokovic told the Russian news agency Sputnik. “This is a fight for the liberating world, this is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world! If they don’t let him go after half an hour, we’ll meet on the street. This is a fight for everyone.”

Since those comments were made, there have been no reports of any gatherings in Belgrade or outside Melbourne Airport.

Earlier on Wednesday, Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic posted a photo on social media of what appears to be Melbourne Airport in Australia where Djokovic was reportedly being held, captioning it, “Not the most common flight down.”

The Australian Open is scheduled to run from January 17-30.

Organizers say two hearings have reviewed the waiver request

Djokovic has expressed his opposition to compulsory vaccines for Covid-19.

“Personally, I’m against vaccination and I don’t want someone to force me to get a vaccine so I can travel,” he said in a Facebook live chat, according to Reuters.

But in May last year, Djokovic said vaccination was a matter of personal choice: “I’ll keep the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated. It’s an intimate decision, and I don’t want to get into this game of pro- and anti-vaccines, which the media unfortunately creates this the days “.

The Australian Open organizers said in a statement on Tuesday that Djokovic’s exemption “was granted after a rigorous review process that involved two independent teams of medical experts”.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley defended the impartiality of the medical exemption review process, telling reporters, “Nobody knows who the applicant is.”

Calls to boycott

Across Melbourne, one of the world’s most closed off cities in 2021, tennis fans have taken to social media to spread calls for a “boycott” of the Australian Open.

The backlash against the exemption comes after Melbourne residents spent more than 260 days confined to their homes, barred from leaving except to buy groceries or other essential items, mostly over two long runs from July to October 2020 and August to October 2021.

Australia kicked off 2022 with a record number of new Covid-19 cases due to a growing outbreak centered in eastern states.

Department of Health figures showed that New South Wales, the most populous state, and Victoria – home to Melbourne – set record daily numbers of cases on Saturday.

Exemption terms

Under current Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) guidelines, medical exemption is granted to individuals with a “serious critical medical condition (such as undergoing major surgery or hospitalization for a critical illness”.

Other remaining grounds for medical exemption relate to people who have experienced a “serious adverse event attributable to a previous dose of Covid-19 vaccine, without another cause identified” and a vaccine that “presents a risk to themselves or others during the vaccination process,” due to a developmental disorder or disorder in mental health.”

Finally, exceptions can be made for anyone with “PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, in which vaccination can be deferred up to six months,” and in cases where individuals receive “anti-SARS-CoV-monoclonal antibodies.” 2 or convalescent plasma therapy”.

“It is ultimately up to him to discuss his condition with the public if he chooses to do so and why he was granted the exemption,” Tilley said.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc. , a Time Warner company. All rights reserved.

Join our newsletter to get the latest news straight to your inbox

About the author

publishing team