Thursday, September 29, 2022

Novak Djokovic vaccine row fallout: Travel without jab illegal?

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World number one men’s singles player Novak Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open because he had recently tested positive for COVID-19, court documents published on Saturday have revealed. “Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia recording that he had been provided with a ‘Medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID,” the document said, as per CNN. The document also revealed that the Serbian tennis star first tested positive on 16 December 2021.

The 34-year old has publicly opposed the Covid-19 vaccine mandate on several occasions. “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” the world number one had said during a Facebook Live session.

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal on Thursday said that Djokovic would not have had any problem arriving in Australia provided he was vaccinated against COVID-19. “Of course, I don’t like the situation that is happening. In some way, I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision,” he added.

Djokovic is currently in immigration detention after having his visa cancelled. The Australian Open organizers granted a medical exemption to vaccine-sceptic Djokovic after which he jetted into Melbourne on Wednesday. However, on landing, the nine-time Australian Open champion spent eight hours in detention at Melbourne Airport where he unsuccessfully pleaded his case to border officials.

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