Novak Djokovic has been ‘placed in an Australian detention centre’ amid a vaccine exemption row, according to reports.
The world’s number one tennis player arrived in the country to defend his Australian Open title. However, he allegedly failed to provide evidence that he was medically exempt from receiving the Covid-19 jab.
According to the BBC, he was questioned by airport officials after flying from Dubai and then sent to the centre based outside of Melbourne.
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A decision is expected to be made on Monday as to whether he will be deported.
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, told reporters that no one is above the country’s rules.
He commented: “When you get people making public statements – of what they say they have, and what they are going to do, and what their claims are – well they draw significant attention to themselves.”
Djokovic’s team has reportedly appealed the decision, while the Australian Open organisers have claimed his medical exemption had been granted by two independent panels organised by Tennis Australia and Victoria state.
The decision has sparked a mass debate in the country amid rising cases. So far, 90% of the adult population in Australia has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while travel remains limited between states.
The sports star’s father, Srdjan, has slammed the country’s treatment of his son.
In a statement, he said: “This is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world.”
However, the Australian Border Force has defended the decision in a statement and claimed that the 34-year-old ‘failed to provide appropriate evidence’ required for his visa.
It read: “Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.”
The reason for Novak Djokovic’s medical exemption has yet to be disclosed.
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