Novak Djokovic: Australia’s PM warns world number one to prove medical exemption or get “the next plane home”.
AUSTRALIA’S PM Scott Morrison warns tennis’ world number one Novak Djokovic to prove his medical exemption – which was granted so he could defend his Australian Open title – or get “the next plane home”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters at a press conference today (January 5): “There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever… We await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that.”
Djokovic was granted a medical exemption from getting the Covid vaccine in a statement from Tennis Australia on Tuesday, January 4. A decision that means he can now play in the Australian Open.
Tournament chiefs had previously stated that being vaccinated was a requirement for competing in Melbourne – something the Serbian had refused to reveal either way. TA confirmed that, as well as Djokovic, some unvaccinated players have been granted exemptions to play, although other names have yet to be made public.
However, this decision is now being questioned by Australia’s PM: “My view is that any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements.
“When Novak Djokovic arrives in Australia he has to, if he’s not vaccinated, provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travellers.
“So we await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he will be treated no different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home.”
The 34-year-old confirmed he was heading to the tournament after being granted a medical exemption in a Twitter post on January 4.
“Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet. I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!”
Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.
I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022! pic.twitter.com/e688iSO2d4
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 4, 2022
Morrison though, added that any exemption given to Djokovic will still have to stack up upon arrival in Australia.
“There are other cases – there are quite a number over the last couple of years – where people have had these exemptions and have the suitable proof to support their claim in those circumstances,’ Mr Morrison said.
“So the circumstance is not unique. The issue is whether he has sufficient evidence to support that he would qualify for the exemption.”
Yesterday’s statement from organisers of the Australian Open read: “Novak Djokovic will compete at the Australian Open and is on his way to Australia.
“Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.
“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health.
“They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidelines.”
The statement continued: “The applications were reviewed and approved only in line with ATAGI guidelines.
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