“Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia recording that he had been provided with a ‘Medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID,” the document said.
Djokovic’s first Covid-positive PCR test was recorded on December 16, 2021, and after not showing signs of a fever or “respiratory symptoms” he later applied for a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open, according to the court filing.
The documents, which have been submitted to the court ahead of Djokovic’s hearing Monday, confirmed the 34-year-old — who has previously voiced opposition to Covid-19 vaccines and vaccines mandates — was unvaccinated when he arrived in Australia on January 5.
After being questioned by the Australian Border Force, the submission states that Djokovic’s exemption was determined to be invalid under Australia’s BioSecurity Act because his “previous infection with COVID-19 is not considered a medical contraindication for Covid-19 vaccination 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 then canceled on January 6 at 4:11 am local time, under Section 116(1)(e) of the Migration Act, which “allows for the cancellation of a visa where the holder poses a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community, or to an individual within the Australian community.”
Djokovic’s lawyers argued in the submission that the nine-time Australian Open champion had every reason to believe he would be granted entry into the country as he “held a visa unqualified by any relevant condition … had received certification of a medical exemption from vaccination from the tournament organizer … and had received from the Department of Home Affairs a document informing him that he met the requirements for quarantine-free arrival.”
The “letter from the Department of Home Affairs” referenced by Djokovic’s lawyers concerns the Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) form, which is a standard document that must be filled in by all passengers arriving in the country at least 72 hours before departure.
According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s Expanded Guidance on temporary medical exemptions for Covid-19 vaccines, an exemption can be granted for visa holders in some cases involving a “PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, where vaccination can be deferred until 6 months after the infection.”
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Thursday that Tennis Australia was advised in a letter as far back as November 2021 that unvaccinated players with a recent Covid-19 infection would not be allowed to enter the country.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Morrison said the…