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Australia’s lockdowns to end once 80% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19

Australia’s lockdowns to end once 80% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19
July 30, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that all but the most highly targeted lockdowns will end and the country will begin to reopen its international borders once 80% of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Speaking this afternoon after the latest National Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Morrison advised that the Federal Government along with state and territory leaders have agreed COVID-19 vaccination targets that will end lockdowns and move the country towards minimising restrictions.

Advising that the country remains in the first stage of the its four-stage plan to return to normal, which seeks to suppress the virus using lockdowns as the primary tool, Prime Minister Morrison says phase B, the 'transition phase', will begin when the adult population has reached 70% of people fully vaccinated, and the specific state wanting to move to the next stage also having reached that target.

Advising that, at that stage, hospitalisations would be the determining factor in restrictions, Prime Minister Morrison stated "lockdowns in phase B are less likely, but they are possible ... in targeted cases and more targeted cases, they may be necessary in those circumstances, but they are not something that you would normally expect because of the much higher level of vaccination and protection that exists within the country.”

International arrivals will still be restricted in phase B, and caps on arrivals will remain.

At the present rate of vaccination, the 80% vaccination target would be reached towards the end of the year.

Prime Minister Morrison went on to say that at that point there would be no more lockdowns, except for "highly targeted" lockdowns of vulnerable communities.

That point would also see caps on returning vaccinated travellers abolished and vaccinated people would be allowed to leave the country.

Explaining that a travel bubble would be extended to other vaccinated countries, he added “there will be a gradual reopening of inward and outbound international travel with safe countries, those that have the same sort of vaccination levels that Australia.”

States and territories will be able to move into a next stage when the national average for vaccinations, as well as that state or territory’s own average, meets the relevant vaccination threshold.

The final phase, where life returns to "almost" normal, has not got a vaccination target, as Prime Minister Morrison said it is still "too hard to say what the situation will be down the track".

At that stage, international borders would fully reopen, COVID-19 would be managed in a way consistent with treatment of the flu, and only "high-risk" inbound travellers would need to go into quarantine.

The Singapore Government yesterday announced that it plans to have 80% of its population fully vaccinated and that it will reopen its borders with quarantine-free travel as of September.

Image: Mooloolaba Beach.

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