Novak Djokovic wins Australian court battle linked to COVID vaccine exemption
An Australian judge has reinstated tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, which was cancelled after his arrival last week because he is unvaccinated.
Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the government on Monday to release Djokovic from a Melbourne quarantine hotel within 30 minutes of his decision.
The Australian government cancelled 34-year-old Djokovic’s visa shortly after he arrived in Melbourne late Wednesday to play in the Australian Open because officials decided he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Djokovic, who court documents say is unvaccinated, argued he did not need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month.
Australian medical authorities have ruled that a temporary exemption for the vaccination rule can be provided to people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months.
Kelly noted that Djokovic had provided officials at Melbourne’s airport with a medical exemption given him by Tennis Australia, which is organizing the tournament, and two medical panels.
Wood agreed with the judge that Djokovic could not have done more.
Held in hotel quarantine
Transcripts of Djokovic’s interview with Australian Border Force officials and his own affidavit revealed a « repeated appeal to the officers with which he was dealing that to his understanding, uncontradicted, he had done absolutely everything that he understood was required in order for him to enter Australia, » Wood said.
But the judge ordered that the world No. 1-ranked tennis player be released during his court hearing. It was not clear where Djokovic was relocated to during his hearing. He did not appear on screen in the first hours of the virtual hearing.
Djokovic’s lawyers submitted 11 grounds for appeal against his visa cancellation. The lawyers described the cancellation as « seriously illogical, » irrational and legally unreasonable.
Source: CBC News
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