Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Vaccine Exemption ignites Backlash
Australians have reacted angrily to news that tennis player Novak Djokovic will play in the Australian Open, after he was exempted from vaccination rules.
All players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.
Organizers said the defending champion had not been given special treatment.
But Australians – some of whom still cannot travel interstate or globally – have criticized officials, politicians and Djokovic himself.
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said 26 athletes had applied for medical exemptions and “a handful” had been granted, under guidelines set by federal regulators.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic would be required to present evidence upon arrival or he “will be sent home”.
He said the player may have been granted a medical exemption by overseas doctors “as a proviso for him to get on that plane” but this would be checked to meet Australia’s standards upon his arrival.
Morrison told reporters on Wednesday; “There should be no special tools for Novak Djokovic… he will be treated no different to anyone else,”
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