Novak Djokovic has admitted that he failed to isolate after learning he had tested positive for Covid-19, as the Australian government continues to consider whether to deport him from the country.
The tennis star, who is unvaccinated, was detained after attempting to enter Australia on the basis of having received a medical exemption due to a recent Covid-19 infection, which court documents revealed was recorded on December 16.
Under Serbian law, those who test positive for Covid-19 are required to isolate for 14 days, however images posted to social media appeared to show Djokovic attending a number of public events without wearing a mask in the days after his positive PCR test, leading to questions over whether the world number one had knowingly met others while having the virus.
The events included a tennis event on December 17 at which he was pictured with a number of children, and an interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L’Equipe on December 18.
In a statement issued to address what he described as ‘misinformation’, Djokovic claimed that while he had taken a PCR test on December 16, he was not notified of its results until a day later, after he’d attended the tennis event.
‘The next day, on 18 December, I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot,’ Djokovic said. ‘I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview.’
I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.
While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.
L’Equipe journalist Franck Ramella confirmed that Djokovic had worn a mask during the interview, but said that he did not ask the tennis star if he had taken a test as he had been instructed not to ask him about his vaccination status or his plans for the Australian Open.
Djokovic’s statement would appear to confirm that he knowingly failed to isolate for at least one day after being aware that he had Covid-19, a breach which is a criminal offence under Serbian law, per AAP.
His statement also confirmed that he had presented the Australian Border Force with inaccurate information about his travel history. His visa documents claimed he had not travelled in the 14 days before leaving for Melbourne, when in fact he had flown from Serbia to Spain during that time, a mistake he put down to ‘human error’ on the part of his agent.
In the wake of his apology, The Age has reported that immigration officials are looking into ‘a series of errors and discrepancies’ related to Djokovic’s activities after testing positive.
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