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“If Djokovic does not give us proof of his exemption, he will be on the next plane back home”

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Novak Djokovic will need to show that he has a medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine when he lands in Australia or he will be “on the next plane home,” he said Wednesday Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The world's No. 1 tennis player announced on Tuesday that he received an exemption to play in the Grand Tournament Slam in Melbourne and said he was heading to Australian lands.

Tennis Australia, the Australian tennis federation, and the state government of Victoria said that Djokovic was just one of the “handful” of successful applicants of the 26 people who applied for a vaccination waiver, but had not received any treatment. in the anonymous application process.

«You should not there are special rules for him “

” We look forward to your presentation and the evidence you provide to support that, “Morrison said in a press conference after chairing a meeting of state leaders on how to deal with record levels of COVID infections in the country.

«If that evidence is insufficient, then you will not be treated differently from anyone else and will be on the next plane home . There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None at all, “he added.

The decision to grant Djokovic a tournament exemption generated strong criticism in Australia , where more than 90% of people over the age of 16 have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Melbourne had the longest lockdown in the world to contain the incidence of Covid, and an outbreak of the Omicron variant has sent case numbers to record levels.

“I think a lot of people in the Victorian community will find this disappointing,” said Acting Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford , at a press conference on Wednesday, following the news of Djokovic's exemption. But the process is the process; no one has received special treatment. The process is incredibly robust. ”

A standalone process

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said that the two-stage application process was confidential and expertly led independent . All applications were evaluated to ensure that the waivers met the conditions set by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI).

Tiley said those reasons include a prior adverse response to vaccines, recent major surgery or myocarditis, or certified evidence of a Covid infection in the previous six months.

Djokovic, who had declined to reveal his vaccination status, previously said he was unsure whether he would compete in the Jan.17-30 tournament in Melbourne due to concerns about Australia's quarantine rules.

«We fully understand and empathize with people who are upset by the fact that Novak has come because of his statements in recent years about vaccination, “Tiley acknowledged to reporters. “Ultimately, however, it is up to him to discuss with the public his condition, if he chooses to do so, and the reasons he received an exemption.”

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