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Novak Djokovic: Australia considers tennis star a public health hazard

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Novak Djokovic: Australia considers tennis star a public health hazard

Before the court decision Tightened tone: Australia considers Djokovic to be a public health hazard

Novak Djokovic on the way to the deportation hotel © DPA by Tim Schulze January 15th, 2022, 5:55 p.m. Before the decisive court hearing in the Novak Djokovic case, the Australian government changed its arguments. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke sees Djokovic as a threat to public order and the fight against the pandemic. There was something degrading about the images. The number one in the tennis world rankings was sitting in the back of a car, dressed in a green tracksuit and with an FFP2 mask on his face, with a companion next to him. The car slowly made its way through a group of protesters holding and chanting “Free Djokovic” signs. Cameras and journalists were also there in large numbers when the currently best tennis player in the world returned to the infamous Park Hotel near the airport, also known as the “Maden Hotel”. Djokovic has to wait there until a federal court finally negotiates the Serb’s residence permit on Sunday morning. If Djokovic loses his appeal against the revocation of his visa, he must leave the country immediately and is not allowed to enter the country for three years. If he wins, he can compete at the Australian Open from Monday and try to win it for the tenth time. The decision, in which three judges participate, is final.

Rationale over 268 pages why Novak Djokovic is a danger

But it will be difficult. Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke has sharpened his tone significantly. In a 268-page statement presented at a court hearing on Saturday, Hawke described Djokovic as a threat to public health and order. The tennis pro is a “significant unvaccinated person” who has publicly spoken out against vaccination and has shown “obvious disregard” for basic Covid rules such as isolation after a positive test. The minister means Djokovic’s behavior after his positive corona test in December. As it turned out, the tennis pro didn’t follow the quarantine rules. Djokovic is also known as an opponent of vaccination. Hawke fears that Mr Djokovic’s “continued presence in Australia could lead to a surge in anti-vaccination sentiment in the Australian community (…).” That in turn, writes Hawke, would have negative repercussions. It is about “preserving the lives and health” of citizens and “maintaining the health system in Australia, which is becoming increasingly burdened under the current circumstances of the pandemic.”

Minister calls Djokovic ‘a person with a good reputation’

The minister expressly emphasized that he only sees a “negligible” risk of infecting others with Djokovic. He confirmed that the tennis player had not attempted to break Australian law and that he was a “person of good standing” known for his philanthropy. Whether the judges of the federal court will follow the reasoning on Sunday morning is completely open.
Source: “The Age” #topics



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