Health

Australian government says Djokovic did not have guaranteed entry to the country

The filing
ahead of a court hearing on Monday was in defence of the government’s decision
to bar entry to the world number one player over his COVID-19 vaccination
status.

Djokovic is
hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne
on Jan 17. But instead of training he has been confined in a hotel used for
asylum seekers. He is challenging the decision to cancel his visa after being
stopped on arrival at Melbourne Airport early on Thursday.

A vocal
opponent of vaccine mandates, Djokovic had declined to reveal his vaccination
status or reason for seeking a medical exemption from Australia’s vaccine
rules. But his legal team said in a filing to the court on Saturday that the
Serbian had been granted an exemption due to contracting and recovering from
the virus in December.

The Djokovic
filing said the player had received an assessment from the Department of Home
Affairs that his responses on his Australia Traveller Declaration indicated he
met the requirements for quarantine-free entry into the country.

But the
government’s submission said the department’s email was not an assurance
“that his so-called ‘medical exemption’ would be accepted”, and his
responses could be questioned and verified on his arrival.

The
government submission also challenged Djokovic’s claim for a medical exemption
from Australia’s vaccination requirements on the basis he contracted COVID-19
in mid-December.

“There
is no suggestion that the applicant had “acute major medical illness”
in December 2021. All he has said is that he tested positive for
COVID-19,” the government submission said.

See also  Greece reports new high of 50,126 COVID-19 cases in a day

The drama
over Djokovic has rocked world tennis, caused tensions between Serbia and
Australia and become a flashpoint for opponents of vaccine mandates around the
world.

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