Detail on Novak Djokovic's Covid test result raises fresh suspicions

Novak Djokovic's Covid test result, pictured here on the Serbian Public Health website.
The official test results for Novak Djokovic's Covid case have raised fresh suspicions. (Photo by KELLY DEFINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A QR code on the PCR test result that Novak Djokovic used to show he contracted Covid-19 in December has raised further suspicions around the World No.1 tennis star.

Djokovic was successfully able to obtain a medical exemption to enter Australia and compete at the Australian Open because he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16.

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One of the reasons for an exemption to the Australian Open's vaccination rules is a positive Covid result in the last six months.

Court documents released earlier this week showed Djokovic tested positive for Covid on December 16, less than a month before he travelled to Australia.

However the legitimacy of the Covid result has been called into question after Djokovic was spotted attending a number of public events without wearing a mask on the 17th and 18th of December.

On Wednesday, Djokovic's mother Dijana claimed the World No.1 didn't know he was Covid positive when he attended the events despite his brother revealing on Tuesday that he had received the result.

And the controversy took another explosive twist on Tuesday when the QR code on Djokovic's PCR test results released by the Institute of Public Health of Serbia raised fresh question marks.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here during a training session on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic looks on during a training session on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by KELLY DEFINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

According to German website Der Spiegel and New York Times writer Ben Rothenberg, the result of the test has changed from negative to positive after they scanned the QR code.

"Djokovic’s presented positive Covid test from December 16 (confirmation code 7371999-259039) comes with a QR code on it," Rothenberg tweeted.

"When you scan that QR code (and you can try yourself), it takes you to a website showing that test was *negative*, not positive.

"And now I *just* tried it again and it says the opposite thing for the same test: positive. Who is messing with this website?"

Max Hoppenstedt of Der Spiegel reported the same issue and claimed: "The timestamp for the digital version of his positive test indicates the result may actually be from the 26th of December.

"The digital data suggests that the test results aren’t from Dec 16 at all. In the digital results, there is a timestamp for 2:21 p.m. Serbian time on Dec 26.

"When DER SPIEGEL scanned the QR code for the test from Dec 16, things got strange. At 1:19 p.m. on Monday (CET), the result from the scan was "test result Negative."

"About an hour later, though, at 2:33 p.m. on Monday, a second scan of the QR code returned a different result: "Test result Positive."

ID number of positive test is higher than negative test

Hoppenstedt also revealed that the identification number on Djokovic's positive test is 7371999, but the ID number for a negative test taken on December 22 (supposedly six days later) is 50,000 spots lower - seemingly suggesting it occurred first.

Der Spiegel quoted IT company Zerforschung as saying: "Based on these pieces of evidence, the most plausible explanation is that the positive test result was added to the official Serbian database on the 26th of December, and not on the 16th."

Hoppenstedt begged the question: "Does that mean that Djoković's positive PCR test was taken much later than he claims? Was the test further manipulated?

"And how can it be explained that the digital version of the test result indicated for a short period of time on Monday, Jan. 10 that the result was negative?"

However some fans have suggested that the URL timestamp is the date when the result is downloaded, rather than when it occurred.

There are also concerns about a travel declaration Djokovic submitted to border authorities in which he answered 'no' to a question about whether he had travelled in the last 14 days.

Djokovic was filmed playing tennis in the streets of Belgrade in Serbia on Christmas Day and training in Spain on December 31, both within the 14-day window.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still weighing up whether to use his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic's visa.

Mr Hawke is yet to make a decision on whether Djokovic should be deported after Monday's decision by a federal court to overturn his visa cancellation.

Should such a discretionary decision be made, Djokovic could be banned from entering the country for three years.

with AAP

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