Tennis star Novak Djokovic was detained in Australia on arrival after his Australian Visa was revoked for a breach of COVID-19 entry regulations. Djokovic was set to play in the Australian Open after being granted an exemption for COVID-19 testing since he remains untested and against the idea of forced COVID-19 vaccinations.
Djokovic’s Online Visa Application
Djokovic applied for his Visa online and it was granted by the system as there was no flagging of his particular case. The system operates via an auto-grant feature that when turned on gives Visas to foreigners whose cases are not flagged. With Djokovic being a prominent and wealthy figure, critics say that his actions were childish as he or someone on his team must have applied for the Visa with good knowledge of the current COVID restrictions in Australia.
Heated Debate on Whether Djokovic Should be Exempted from COVID-19 Rules
The case has brought up heated debate on why a prominent figure should be exempted from COVID regulations when the country and the world as a whole are being battered by the Omicron variant. Djokovic’s supporters are, however, outraged saying that he is being held against his will and that he should be freed and allowed to play.
Australian Government Adamant on Maintaining the Same Standards for All Foreign Visitors
Nonetheless, the Australian government came out strongly to deny these allegations and maintained its stance that no one is special or will be exempted from COVID-19 compliance. The state says that Novak Djokovic is free to leave at any time. Serbians, Djokovic’s fellow compatriots came out in protest to decry the detention demanding that he be released. The story is still developing and we are yet to see what will happen to Djokovic and whether he will play in the Australian Open.
Further Controversy on the Plight of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia
Novak Djokovic’s situation has brought up further controversy on the treatment and detention of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The Park Hotel where he was detained is a hotel where the Australian government detains refugees and asylum seekers. Those detained have for long decried their treatment in detention centers saying that the conditions and even the food is bad.
Furthermore, they say that they are held indefinitely while their asylum applications are being reviewed, with some spending nearly a decade detained in these detention centers and hotels. Australia has a poor track record in immigration and even reserves islands where it detains refugees and asylum seekers.