Novak Djokovic has been stopped at the Melbourne airport after glitches in his visa. He was supposed to play in the Australian Open. As per reports, Djokovic's team had not sought visa that requests medical exemption from COVID vaccination. The defending Australian Open champion had taken to social media to break the news of him leaving for Melbourne with "exemption permission".
"I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading Down Under with exemption permission. Let's go 2022 !!," Novak wrote on Instagram.
However, as per rules, all Australian Open participants are expected to have received double dose of the vaccine or bring a certificate mentioning medical reason behind the exemption from vaccination. If not, the players are expected to undergo mandatory 14 day quarantine.
What Scott Morrison said
Prime minister Scott Morrison said in a report that if Novak Djokovic arrived without a proof of why he can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, he would be treated the same as any other. The PM added that Djokovic would be sent back home with the next flight.
Is he really exempted?
On the other hand, Craig Tiley who is the Chief Executive of Tennis Australia is reported to have said that Djokovic has the same medical exemption which anyone can get under the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) guidelines.
"If there are several reasons why they are unable to be vaccinated, Atagi have set out very clear guidelines that have to be followed in order for you to be added to the Australian immunisation register and if you are added to that register, you are then exempt from a vaccination and can come into Australia," he told Nine's Today Show.
Last year, Djokovic had said, "I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel ... But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision."