Over the weekend Australia’s courts led a crushing blow to the world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic. He lost his appeal to stay and compete in the Australian open due to being unvaccinated.
Attorney for Australia’s Immigration Minister argued that Djokovic’s presence in Australia “may be a risk to the health of the Australian community.” They also used the argument that Djokovic has already affected vaccination rates in Serbia, his home country: “Mr. Djokovic’s iconic status must be highest in Serbia. In Djokovic’s home country, it is estimated that under half of the country is fully vaccinated,” he said.
Rebel News reports:
The decision was unanimous and Djokovic was ordered to pay the government’s legal costs.
In a statement Djokovic said:
“I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s Court hearing. I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this,” the statement reads. “I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.
“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.
“I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.
“Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me.”
Earlier in the day Nicholas Wood SC, argued that the immigration minister’s reasoning for cancelling Djokovic’s visa – that it might incite anti-vaccination sentiment – could also be a concern by forcefully removing him from the country.
He stated that the Minister’s reasoning was irrational and did not properly consider both possible scenarios.
“It was irrational for the minister to only contemplate the prospect of the fostering of anti-vax sentiment that might accrue from Mr Djokovic playing tennis … and yet not consider the binary alternative, which was the prospect of anti-vax sentiment being fostered consequent to or following from coercive state action – being cancellation (of Djokovic’s visa) and expulsion.
“It is irrational or unreasonable to look at only one side of the coin.
“There was only one single item of evidence … that actually bore on this question and that item of evidence was the BBC report that only suggested anti-vax sentiment aggravated by the cancellation option.
“There was no evidence at all about anti-vax sentiment being fostered by the option the minister did not pursue, which is simply letting my client play tennis for two weeks.”
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Fauci’s NIH gives another $3.5 million to EcoHealth despite dangerous past of coronavirus research
Just before he retires, Dr. Anthony Fauci has pushed through a new five-year grant for EcoHealth. EcoHealth Alliance, is the U.S. nonprofit that Fauci and the National Institute of Health’s funds, “to conduct dangerous coronavirus research in partnership with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic” reports National Review.
Over the next five years, the troublesome EcoHealth will receive over $3.25 million; their first check comes this year for $653,392. The grant is one of four concurrent NIH grants that EcoHealth has; three of the grants were awarded after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The description of the grant on the NIH RePORTER website is to analyze “the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.”
“This is high-risk research that involves going into remote, often inaccessible areas, and sampling bats and bat excreta, and then returning those samples to laboratories in population centers where they attempt to isolate the virus … and then seek to characterize the threat level posed by the virus,” said Richard Ebright, a biosafety expert and professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University. “This is one of the kinds of research that may have been directly responsible for the current pandemic.”
The term gain-of-function research has become very controversial since the global Covid-19 pandemic, and National Review reports on the subject:
This newest EcoHealth project wouldn’t qualify as gain-of-function research, Ebright said. Gain-of-function research involves extracting viruses from animals and engineering them in a lab to make them more transmissible or dangerous to humans. But Ebright said two of EcoHealth’s grants do involve gain-of-function research and enhanced potential pandemic research on coronaviruses. And even if the current description of the new project doesn’t involve gain-of-function research, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t later.
From securing funding to completing the research, it is a six-year process, Ebright said, and the project is bound to change over those six years. “If researchers robotically followed what they proposed six years ago, they would not be taking into account developments in their own labs and in the field at any point along the way,” he said. “You have to have this flexibility. That also means you need oversight to make sure the flexibility isn’t going into forbidden areas.”
Going into forbidden areas is exactly how EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, previously got into trouble. Starting in 2014, the U.S. government temporarily paused funding for gain-of-function research due to concerns over biosafety and biosecurity. When some of EcoHealth’s research – involving infecting genetically-engineered mice with hybrid viruses – seemed to cross that line, NIAID staff and EcoHealth leaders crafted work-around guidelines to allow the nonprofit to continue its work.
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