Home Spain stamps Novak Djokovic obtained medical exemption after testing positive for Covid-19 in December, court documents show

Novak Djokovic obtained medical exemption after testing positive for Covid-19 in December, court documents show

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Development comes as the tennis The world number 1 is confined to a temporary detention center in Melbourne as he begins a desperate legal challenge against the cancellation of his visa before the tournament.

“Mr Djokovic had received a letter from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer on December 30, 2021 recording that he had been granted a ‘medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered COVID, “the document said. noted.

Djokovic’s first positive PCR test was recorded on December 16, 2021, and after showing no signs of fever or “respiratory symptoms,” he then applied for a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open, according to the court file.

In a letter dated December 7, which was leaked to reporters on Friday and cannot be independently verified by CNN, it appears tournament organizers falsely informed unvaccinated players that they could enter Australia for participate in the grand slam.

The letter states that a confirmed Covid-19 infection within the past six months as well as a covering letter from a doctor or public health authority would be considered valid documents for a medical exemption. Players have been invited to submit their nominations no later than December 10, the document said.

The advice appears to contradict advice in a widely reported letter sent by Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt to tournament director Craig Tiley in November, stressing that a Covid-19 infection in the past six months was not responding to entry requirements without quarantine.

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Court documents released on Saturday, which were submitted to court ahead of Djokovic’s hearing on Monday, confirmed that the 34-year-old – who has previously expressed his opposition to vaccines and Covid-19 vaccine warrants – was not vaccinated on arrival in Australia on January 5.

After being questioned by the Australian Border Force, the communication states that Djokovic’s exemption was found to be invalid under Australian Biosafety Act because his “previous infection with COVID-19 is not considered to be a medical contraindication to vaccination against Covid-19 in Australia ”.

A “medical contraindication” is granted in specific situations where a drug, procedure, vaccine or surgery should not be used because it may be harmful to a person’s health.

Djokovic’s visa was subsequently canceled on January 6 at 4:11 a.m. local time, under section 116 (1) (e) of the Migration Act, which “allows the cancellation of a visa when the licensee poses a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community, or to an individual within the Australian community. “

Lawyers for Djokovic argued in the submission that the nine-time Australian Open champion had every reason to believe he would be allowed into the country because he “held a visa without any relevant conditions … had received the certification of a medical exemption from vaccination from the tournament organizer … and had received a document from the Ministry of the Interior informing him that he met the conditions for an arrival without quarantine. “

READ: Nick Kyrgios criticizes Novak Djokovic’s “really bad” treatment amid visa dispute

The “Home Office document” referenced by Djokovic’s lawyers relates to the Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) form, which must be completed by all passengers arriving in the country at least 72 hours before departure.

According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization’s Expanded Guidance on temporary medical exemptions for Covid-19 vaccines, an exemption may be granted to visa holders in certain cases involving a “PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, where vaccination may be postponed until 6 months after infection. “

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Thursday that Tennis Australia was informed in a letter dated November 2021 that unvaccinated players with recent Covid-19 infection would not be allowed to enter the country.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Morrison said the 34-year-old “did not have a valid medical exemption” to avoid compulsory vaccination for arrivals in the country.

Djokovic’s legal team has requested an urgent injunction against the decision by Australian border forces to revoke his visa. The country’s Federal Circuit Court has adjourned the decision until Monday on whether he will be allowed to stay in Australia or be deported.

Photos show Djokovic was unmasked at events the day documents show he tested positive

Several images posted by the official social media accounts of the Novak Foundation show Djokovic, who was not wearing a mask, participating in a panel discussion in front of an audience.

The images are dated December 16, when Australian court documents show he tested positive for Covid-19. None of the other participants wore a mask.

On December 17, the Belgrade Tennis Association’s Facebook page posted several photos of Djokovic posing with a group of young people at a tennis awards ceremony. One photo shows at least 26 people, most of them young, posing with him. Local Serbian media widely reported that Djokovic participated in the youth awards ceremony.

On the same day, Djokovic posted a photo of himself with a plaque on his official Instagram account.

The caption reads: “It is an honor to receive my own Serbian stamp. Thank you to my generous country for this rare gift! I am honored! I am delighted to share that we will be partnering with the Serbian National Postal Service on the projects of @novakfoundation for every child to have the opportunity to go to kindergarten 🙏🏼. Thanks for everyone who put this together. Now @jelenadjokovicndf and I are going to bring home stamps for the children to write to Santa Claus . “

It is not known if Djokovic was aware of his test results before showing up for any of these events. CNN has reached out to representatives for Djokovic for comment.

A number of players have lent their support to Djokovic as the visa saga continues, including Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and American John Isner.

In their native Serbia, the Djokovic family staged a protest outside the country’s National Assembly in Belgrade earlier this week. Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, said authorities were holding his son “captive”, a claim denied by Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews.

“He’s free to go anytime he chooses to, and Border Force will make that easier,” Andrews told ABC on Friday.

“It is the responsibility of every traveler to ensure that they have all the necessary documents to enter Australia.”

CNN’s Niamh Kennedy, George Ramsay and Jennifer Hauser contributed to this report.