According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, tennis star Novak Djokovic will not be permitted entry into Australia unless he proves medically that he cannot be vaccinated.
In Morrison’s opinion, if the evidence was insufficient, the tennis player “could be on the next plane home”
After being exempted from vaccination requirements, the world number one is set to play in the Australian Open. Djokovic hasn’t publicly addressed his vaccination status, but he stated last year that he was “against vaccination”.
The players must be vaccinated or have an exemption approved by an independent panel. Organizers claim the defending champion did not receive special treatment, but many Australians have expressed anger over the decision.
After suffering some of the world’s strictest restrictions, Australia is experiencing tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases for the first time.
Mr. Morrison said in the midst of the controversy that the Serbian player will be required to provide documentation of a genuine exemption from vaccination upon arrival. “If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else,” the prime minister told reporters. “There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”
Doctor Stephen Parnis wrote on Twitter: “I don’t care how good he is a tennis player. If he refuses vaccination, he should not be allowed in.”
According to Craig Tiley, Australian Open’s CEO, 26 athletes applied for medical exemptions. “A handful” were approved, he said, pursuant to guidelines set by federal regulators.
The Australian Open begins in Melbourne on 17 January.