‘Vaccine refusal’ Djokovic vs ‘Immigration denied’ Australia… issues and prospects

Novak Djokovic. photo = AP

Novak Djokovic (Serbia), who refuses to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), and Australia’s refusal to enter the country have become a hot topic in the world sports world since the beginning of the new year 2022.

Djokovic arrived at Melbourne International Airport on the night of the 5th to participate in the Australian Open tennis tournament that kicked off in Melbourne, Australia on the 17th.

However, he did not pass immigration and waited for about 8 hours at the airport, eventually getting a visa denied and was in danger of being deported.

Djokovic is currently staying at a quarantined hotel in Melbourne, Australia, and is preparing for legal action.

The reason Djokovic was denied entry was because of whether he had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

A fan of Novak Djokovic (Serbia) holds a Serbian flag at the arrivals hall at Melbourne Airport, Australia on the 6th (local time). Australian Immigration Services has decided not to issue an entry visa to Djokovic who does not meet the entry requirements. This made Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open difficult. Melbourne = AP News

Vaccination against COVID-19 is compulsory for entry into Australia, but Djokovic has not been vaccinated.

He said, however, that he had received a vaccination waiver from the Victorian government, where the Australian Open is being held, and the event organizers before arriving in Australia.

During the entry process, relevant documents to prove this were submitted, but the Australian Immigration Office, which is managed by the federal government, judged that these documents were incomplete and the visa was revoked.

In order to be exempt from vaccination, it is necessary to confirm that the person has recovered after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 6 months or that there is a concern about serious side effects from vaccination.

Some argued that it was ‘preferential treatment for Djokovic’ from the moment Djokovic announced that he had received permission to be exempt from vaccination.

Citizens protest against the Australian authorities who refused to enter the country’s tennis star Novak Djokovic and quarantined him in a hotel in front of the parliament in Belgrade, Serbia, on the 6th (local time). Belgrade = AFP Yonhap News

However, the Australian Open Organizing Committee stated that “26 tournament officials applied for permission to exempt from vaccination, and about 75 to 80 percent did not get permission,” so it is difficult to see this as a special favor given only to Djokovic.

At this year’s Australian Open, players, fans and officials alike will be able to enter the venue only if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have not been vaccinated must obtain an exemption from vaccination.

However, it has not been disclosed for what reason Djokovic was granted exemption from vaccination during this process, or whether he was denied entry even after being granted exemption from vaccination for what reason.

Some estimate that ‘Djokovic was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months and requested permission to be exempted from vaccination for that reason’.

Djokovic’s confirmed case of COVID-19 was revealed once in June 2020, and there has been no since.

Photo = AP Yonhap News

In an interview in April 2020, at the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, he said, “I personally oppose the COVID-19 vaccination.”

In the case of last year’s Australian Open, vaccination was not compulsory because all participating players were quarantined for two weeks after arriving in Australia.

This year’s Australian Open is the first time that vaccination against COVID-19 has become compulsory at a tennis major.

In particular, Australia has strictly enforced border closures since the beginning of the outbreak, and Victoria is a country with a strict response to COVID-19, with about 90% of residents aged 12 and over being vaccinated.

Rafael Nadal (Spain) also said in an interview on the 6th, “Australian people have had a hard time closing their borders, so if they say ‘People entering Australia should get vaccinated’, then we should get vaccinated.” All.

Djokovic’s refusal to enter Australia became an international issue, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison arguing that “regulations are rules,” and that there is no preferential treatment.

While Djokovic is taking legal action, it is expected that Djokovic’s entry into the country will be decided in some form before the Australian Open starts on the 17th.

Professor Mary Crowe of the University of Sydney, Australia, said in an interview with Australian media, “It is unlikely that Djokovic’s claim will be accepted by the courts at this time.

Djokovic was particularly attached to the Australian Open by achieving 9 of his 20 major singles wins at the Australian Open.


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