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Should Australia have let “No-vax” in?

Matt King/Getty

I’m no fan of Novak Djokovic, but rejecting him on Australia’s doorstep was “nothing short of madness”, says Michael Koziol in The Sydney Morning Herald. The tennis player, a vocal vaccine sceptic, had his medical exemption for our strict vaccine mandate revoked at the airport earlier this week. Denying him the chance to play in the Australian Open might have made sense back when we were maintaining “zero Covid”. But now that we’re notching up 60,000 cases a day, “it’s just silly”. Djokovic, who is now stuck in a Melbourne hotel awaiting the results of a legal appeal, was granted the exemption by two medical panels. Do we really think him running around a tennis court is some huge threat to our health?

Australia has the right idea, says The Times – “it’s time to get tough on the antivaxxers”. At a conservative estimate, 61% of those in intensive care from Covid in Britain last month were “wholly unvaccinated”. Unjabbed adults are up to eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with the virus than the vaccinated. Those who choose “for no good reason” to not have the shots are denying healthcare resources to those in need. We don’t need mandatory vaccinations or prison sentences. In France, for example, Emmanuel Macron has said he plans to “emmerder” (“piss off”) vaccine refuseniks by banning them from cafés, gyms and museums. It’s a “proportionate and justified” response – one Britain should consider following.

France isn’t alone, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. Unvaccinated Canadians cannot board planes or trains. Singapore says it won’t pay Covid medical bills for the unvaccinated. But I’m glad we’re not being so harsh in Britain. The unjabbed are disproportionately the poor, the young and ethnic minorities. “Just over half of black under-30s, for example, are still not vaccinated.” This reluctance is down to complicated reasons, often relating to mistrust in authority. Hounding or insulting the unvaccinated will only alienate them further.

🍞💪 Djokovic’s stance on vaccines isn’t the only area where he goes against the grain, says Simon Briggs in The Daily Telegraph. In his book Serve to Win he quotes traditional Chinese medicine and cites, as evidence of his gluten intolerance, an exercise where his right arm was weaker while he was holding a slice of bread with his left. He once said on Instagram that positive thought could “cleanse” polluted water, and that “scientists have proven that molecules in water react to our emotions”.