Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to enter the country for the Australian Open, a week after Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke said it was not on the map.
But the federal government’s apparent backflip has caught Victorian health officials by surprise.
UPDATE: Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews closes door to unvaccinated tennis players
Australia’s Grand Slam vaccination debate has been swirling since the Victorian government introduced a mandate for professional athletes to get the jab.
It remains unclear how that rule will be applied to the Open and foreign travelers.
However, Hawkes’ comments a week ago suggested that the state government would actually take the decision off their hands.
Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone coming to Australia should be double vaccinated…that’s a universal application, not just for tennis players, he said.
Morrison has now contradicted that message.
The same rules should apply to everyone, the prime minister said sunrise.
If I hadn’t been double vaccinated when I got home from Glasgow, I’d be quarantined in Sydney for two weeks.
The same rules apply to everyone, whether you are a grand slam winner, a prime minister, a business traveler, a student or whoever you are. Same rules.
The states set the rules about quarantine as they are.
When asked if that meant unvaccinated tennis players could play at the Australian Open, Morrison confirmed: Correct.
That’s the rule that applies when they have those arrangements, he added.
There are still many people who come to Australia under many schemes, but if you are not vaccinated you will have to quarantine in Victoria.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state’s public health team should consider what the prime minister said.
The Victorian government assumed the immigration minister’s position was the government’s position, he told reporters outside parliament on Wednesday.
The government of Victoria will eventually dictate restrictions on any unvaccinated arrivals in Melbourne.
No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, Djokovic’s runner-up at this year’s Australian Open before beating him to win the US Open, have declined to reveal whether they received a jab.
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