Djokovic lawyers say exemption due to December Covid-19 infection

MELBOURNE, 8 Jan 2022:

Tennis ace Novak Djokovic was exempt from the vaccination mandate required to enter Australia because he contracted coronavirus in December, his attorneys have said.

The Serb’s visa was cancelled after he arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday night with a medical exemption that would have allowed him to defend his title at the Australian Open this month without being vaccinated.

But the Australian Border Force refused his arrival into the country, saying he did not meet entry requirements.

“The date of the first positive Covid-19 PCR test was recorded on 16 Dec 2021,” a court document shows, according to Australian media.

“Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 Dec 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia (‘Exemption Certificate’) recording that he had been provided with a ‘medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination’ on the ground that he had recently recovered from Covid-19.”

The exemption was granted 14 days after the 34-year-old tested positive for coronavirus and after 72 hours without symptoms.

He is currently being held in an immigration detention centre awaiting a court hearing on Monday morning to address an appeal against his deportation.

His arrival in Australia triggered an outcry in the country, which requires all travellers to have been administered the full course of the coronavirus vaccine unless they are granted a medical exemption.

Djokovic had not previously revealed whether or not he was inoculated, although his opposition to vaccines is well documented.

Vaccination is mandatory to enter Australia, but there are a handful of reasons that an exemption can be granted – including an acute medical condition such as undergoing major surgery or a serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.