Scott Morrison said unvaccinated tennis players will be allowed to enter the country, but Daniel Andrews has fired back at the Prime Minister.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has fired back at Scott Morrison after the Prime Minister confirmed unvaccinated tennis players will be allowed to enter the country ahead of the 2022 Australian Open.
A leaked email to WTA players claimed unvaccinated stars would be allowed to compete in next year’s grand slam after completing 14 days of hotel quarantine Down Under.
The email from the governing body of women’s tennis said fully vaccinated players won’t have to quarantine or remain in bubbles at all during the major, which is scheduled to take place in Melbourne in January.
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Speaking on Channel 7’s Sunrise, Morrison said unvaccinated tennis players will be permitted to enter the country but must complete two weeks of quarantine.
“The same rules have to apply to everyone,” he said on Tuesday morning. “If I wasn’t double vaccinated when I got home from Glasgow, I’d be doing two weeks of quarantine in Sydney.
“The same rules apply to everyone, whether you’re a grand slam winner, a Prime Minister, a business traveller, a student, or whoever — same rules.
“There are many people who still come to Australia at the moment under particular arrangements, but if you are not vaccinated you will have to quarantine in Victoria.”
Morrison later elaborated on Channel 9’s Today: “We are going to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, one of the lowest fatality rates from Covid and the strongest economy coming through Covid. So that says to me that our plans have worked pretty well.
“As we go forward I think we just have to be sensible and practical. We want major events in this country, a lot of jobs depends on it. We want Australia to show to the world that we are open, we’re getting on with it and our life is roaring back as we are seeing, now in New South Wales and Victoria and even here in the ACT.
“We just have to move on.”
But Andrews drew a line in the sand later on Tuesday, firing back at Morrison’s comments.
“What I want to make very clear is that the state of Victoria will not be applying for any exemptions for unvaccinated players,” he said.
“On behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who has done the right thing, my government will not be applying for an exemption for any unvaccinated player.”
Earlier this week Andrews said if everyone else at Melbourne Park needs to be fully vaccinated to attend the Australian Open, then the same rules should apply to players.
“You try getting into the US … most of Europe, really, so many different parts of Asia if you haven’t been vaccinated,” Andrews told ABC radio. “Like, you’re just not getting a visa – why would that be different here?
“I don’t think it’s too much to say, if you want one of those visas and you want to come here, then you need to be double-vaxxed.
“All the people who are watching the tennis at the Australian Open, they’re going to be double-vaxxed, all the people that work there are going to be double-vaxxed. It stands to reason that if you want to get into the country to be part of that tournament, then you should be double-vaxxed as well.”
Novak Djokovic, the top ranked male player in the world who is chasing his fourth straight Australian Open title and 10th overall, has spoken in the past of his anti-vax tendencies. He has declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19, telling Serbian newspaper Blic last week that it was a “private matter”.
“Things beings as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic said.
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.
“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.
“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open … I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.”
The 2021 Australian Open is scheduled to get underway on Monday, January 17.