Australia Has Fallen

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Djokovic detention in Australia fuels debate over COVID protocols

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On the tennis court, Novak Djokovic’s timing is perfect. But the No. 1 player’s timing for his arrival in Australia to play the first Grand Slam of the year could not have been worse. While traveling to the country, his COVID-19 vaccine exemption was revoked and he was denied entry when he landed.

Some are suggesting politics is at play in a country seeing a virus surge and debating how best to beat it back.

Australian officials initially said Djokovic, a vocal skeptic of vaccines who has refused to say if he received any COVID-19 immunization, would be given an exemption to vaccine rules by state authorities and be able to participate in the Australian Open. But his visa was canceled by federal border officials and he’s now in an immigration detention hotel while he fights the decision.

Djokovic’s refusal to discuss his vaccination status didn’t sit well in Open host Melbourne, where 92% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated and cases are rising. The city reported 21,728 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, in addition to six deaths and an increase in hospitalizations.

In 2020 and 2021, Melbourne residents spent 256 days under severe restrictions on movements and gatherings.

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On the tennis court, Novak Djokovic’s timing is perfect. But the No. 1 player’s timing for his arrival in Australia to play the first Grand Slam of the year could not have been worse. While traveling to the country, his COVID-19 vaccine exemption was revoked and he was denied entry when he landed.

Some are suggesting politics is at play in a country seeing a virus surge and debating how best to beat it back.

Australian officials initially said Djokovic, a vocal skeptic of vaccines who has refused to say if he received any COVID-19 immunization, would be given an exemption to vaccine rules by state authorities and be able to participate in the Australian Open. But his visa was canceled by federal border officials and he’s now in an immigration detention hotel while he fights the decision.

Djokovic’s refusal to discuss his vaccination status didn’t sit well in Open host Melbourne, where 92% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated and cases are rising. The city reported 21,728 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, in addition to six deaths and an increase in hospitalizations.

In 2020 and 2021, Melbourne residents spent 256 days under severe restrictions on movements and gatherings.

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