Novak Djokovic granted vaccine exemption after contracting COVID, lawyers share

Tennis star Novak Djokovic has been granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia and play at the Australian Open after recovering from COVID-19, his lawyers share new court documents filed on Saturday.

Djokovic was not allowed into the country when he landed in Melbourne this week, and now he is awaiting a court case in an immigrant detention center on Monday as his visa status is challenged ahead of matches.

“Mr Djokovic had received a letter from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer on December 30, 2021 recording that he had received a ‘medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID,” court documents published by the Australian Federal Circuit read, by CNN.

After testing positive on Dec. 16, the world’s No.1 tennis star requested a medical exemption in order to compete, and was allowed to do so “on the grounds” that he had beaten COVID, according to his lawyers. But the Australian Border Force said Djokovic “did not provide the proper evidence” to enter the country because he would not be vaccinated and Australia does not count a previous infection as a valid reason to enter.

His visa was subsequently canceled on January 6 due to migration law, meaning he appeared to have posed “a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community.” In recently revealed documents, his lawyers claim he has obtained a temporary visa from Tennis Australia and are asking that he be transferred to “a more suitable place of detention” to prepare for the matches.

“We were able to make sure that gluten-free food was delivered to him, as well as exercise tools, a laptop and a SIM card so that he could be in contact with his family,” Serbian Prime Minister said. Ana Brnabic, adding that he will stay at the Park Hotel until a decision is made.

While the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization’s Expanded Guidance on temporary COVID vaccination exemption shares that “PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection” could exempt visa holders in some cases, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he said to Tennis Australia in November that Unvaccinated players with recent COVID infections would not be allowed to enter the country to play, according to CNN.

The Australian Open kicks off on January 17 in Melbourne.

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