#SportsNews: Novak Djokovic visa to enter Australia cancelled, PM says tennis player could not prove medical exemption

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Novak Djokovic visa to enter Australia cancelled, PM says tennis player could not prove medical exemption : #RashtraNews

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s visa to enter Australia was canceled on Thursday and his bid to defend his Australian Open crown in Melbourne appears in doubt. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison maintained that the star tennis player was not ‘singled out’ and that th Serb could not prove his case for acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine exemption to play in the season’s first Grand Slam.

Djokovic announced on social media Tuesday that he had “exemption permission” and landed in Australia late Wednesday after receiving a medical exemption from the Victoria state government that would shield him from the strict vaccination regulations in place for this year’s first major tennis tournament.

The medical exemptions, vetted by two independent panels of experts and based on information supplied anonymously by players and taken on face value, had been designed to allow Djokovic to play in the Australian Open, regardless of his vaccination status for Covid-19.

But border authorities did not accept the exemption. The Australian Border Force issued a statement saying Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements.

“The rule is very clear,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“You need to have a medical exemption. He didn’t have a valid medical exemption. We make the call at the border, and that’s where it’s enforced.”

The Victoria government has mandated that only fully vaccinated players, staff members, fans and officials can enter Melbourne Park when the tournament begins January 17.

Only 26 people connected with the tournament applied for a medical exemption and, Tiley said, only a “handful” were granted. None of those players have been publicly identified.

Among the acceptable reasons for an exemption are acute major medical conditions, serious adverse reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of a Covid-19 infection within the previous six months.

‘WILL HAVE TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY’

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic’s medical exemption by border officials who looked “at the integrity and the evidence behind it.”

He said Djokovic was free to appeal the decision, “but if a visa is canceled, somebody will have to leave the country.”

Djokovic has spoken out against vaccines in the past and has steadfastly refused to acknowledge whether he received any shots against the coronavirus.

DJOKOVIC NOT SINGLED OUT: PM MORRISON

Responding later to questions about confusion over the differing state and federal requirements, Morrison said it was up to individual travelers to have correct documentation on arrival.

The prime minister rejected the suggestion that Djokovic was being singled out, but he acknowledged that other players may be in Australia on the same type of medical exemption.

“One of the things the Border Force does is they act on intelligence to direct their attention to potential arrivals,” he said. “When you get people making public statements about what they say they have, and they’re going to do, they draw significant attention to themselves.”

Anyone who does that “whether they’re a celebrity, a politician, a tennis player . . . they can expect to be asked questions more than others before you come.” (With AP inputs)

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( News Source :Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Rashtra News staff and is published from a www.indiatoday.in feed.)

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