UK records more than 150,000 Covid-19 deaths since pandemic began

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New court documents published on Saturday by Australia’s Federal Circuit revealed that Novak Djokovic tested positive for Covid-19 in December 2021.

“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 Dec. 16, 2021, and after not showing signs of a fever or “respiratory symptoms,” he applied for a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open, according to the document. 

Novak Djokovic was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia to compete in the Australian Open unvaccinated “on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID,” his lawyers said in a court submission Saturday. 

The documents, which have been submitted to the court ahead of Djokovic’s hearing Monday, confirmed the men’s tennis No.1 was unvaccinated when he arrived in Australia on Jan. 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.

Some background:

Djokovic’s visa was canceled on Jan. 6 at 4:11 a.m. 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 expanded guidance on temporary medical exemptions for Covid-19 vaccines, a temporary 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. 

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