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Tennis star Novak Djokovic dangers being despatched house, says Australian prime minister

Australia’s prime minister has warned Novak Djokovic, the Serbian tennis participant who has been granted an exemption to play within the Grand Slam match in Melbourne this month, that he can be “on the following airplane house” if he’s unable to point out why he can’t be vaccinated when he lands.

“If that proof is inadequate, then he received’t be handled any totally different to anybody else and he’ll be on the following airplane house,” Scott Morrison informed reporters on Wednesday. “So there ought to be no particular guidelines for Novak Djokovic in any respect. None in any way.”

He added: “If medical exemptions have been offered by medical professionals and that’s been furnished to him as a proviso for him to get on that airplane, properly, that must stack up when he arrives in Australia.”

Djokovic, the defending Australian Open males’s champion, has opposed obligatory Covid-19 vaccination. The choice to permit him an exemption to enter the nation as an unvaccinated particular person has triggered a livid response from well being authorities and the general public in Australia. The nation’s Covid numbers have soared to data whereas its testing system has come below pressure.

Tennis Australia mentioned on Wednesday {that a} medical exemption had been granted to Djokovic after a “rigorous evaluation course of” by two impartial panels of specialists together with one appointed by the well being division in Victoria, the state during which the Australian Open is held.

Djokovic, who has refused to substantiate his vaccination standing, mentioned in a social media publish on his approach to Melbourne that the exemption had been granted. He’ll nonetheless should quarantine.

Nevertheless, the Australian authorities issued a stern menace that the exemption wouldn’t assure his entry into Australia. Karen Andrews, the minister for house affairs, mentioned Djokovic and any gamers who’ve been granted an exemption would want to supply “acceptable proof” that they can’t be vaccinated for medical causes, in keeping with different travellers getting into Australia.

“Australian Border Pressure will proceed to make sure that those that arrive at our border adjust to our strict border necessities,” she mentioned. “No particular person competing on the Australian Open can be afforded any particular remedy.”

Craig Tiley, the Australian Open match director, defended the choice to exempt Djokovic and a handful of different gamers, which had gone “above and past” the usual immigration course of for unvaccinated travellers into Australia. “Finally it’s the choice of the medical specialists,” he mentioned.

He reiterated that different gamers, followers and employees on the tennis competitors should be absolutely vaccinated “except there’s a real purpose why an exemption ought to be granted” to make sure the protection of individuals.

That provoked a robust response in Victoria. The state internet hosting the tennis match has not too long ago emerged from among the world’s most stringent lockdown restrictions whereas the federal government there has mandated that some employees should be absolutely vaccinated.

Native media have dubbed Djokovic “Novax” and made comparisons with the restrictions positioned on the England and Australian cricket gamers competing on this summer time’s Ashes sequence in Australia.

Stephen Parnis, a doctor and former vice-president of the Australian Medical Affiliation, mentioned on social media that the choice to permit Djokovic to play despatched “an appalling message to thousands and thousands” in search of to cut back the danger of Covid.

“I don’t care how good a tennis participant he’s,” mentioned Parnis. “If he’s refusing to get vaccinated, he shouldn’t be allowed in.”

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