Lockdowns and state borders will be mainly removed once 70% of Australians aged over 16 have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that worldwide travel would be permitted once 80% have been twice vaccinated.
After a National Cabinet meeting with state premiers on Friday afternoon, July 30, the Prime Minister announced the jab rates required for each step of his four-part plan to return Australia to normalcy.
“We’ve agreed that the way we get there is Australians, one by one, family by family, community by community, going out there, getting vaccinated, getting the job done,” he said.
Australia, which has only vaccinated 18.24% of over 16’s, is currently in phase A of the plan, which necessitates ‘immediate’ lockdowns to suppress COVID-19 or CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus to avert thousands of illnesses and fatalities, Daily Mail reported.
When the national vaccination rate reaches 70% and the rate in that state reaches 70%, the state or territory can progress to phase B.
Mr Morrison aims to complete this phase by the end of the year, but cautioned that the timeframe “is entirely up to how the nation responds to this challenge we’re setting for ourselves.”
Lockdowns will be “less likely” during this period, and people who have been double-vaccinated will be given “special rules” that will provide them more freedom than Australians who refuse to get vaccinated.
“If you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that apply to you. Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you present less of a public health risk,” Mr Morrison said.
The Northern Territory, Victoria, and Tasmania have formed a “small working group” to establish which restrictions will not apply to the double-vaccinated.
In phase B, the Prime Minister warned that certain localized lockdowns may be necessary, but no “broad-based metropolitan-wide lockdowns” will be required.
“Lockdowns in phase B are less likely, but they are possible … they may be necessary but they are not something that you would normally expect,” he said.
“Once we get into phase B, then the calculus does change and lockdowns do cost a lot.
“Where you have that higher level of protection then there is more discretion exercised. That’s why that phase is referred to as less likely, but possible.”
Mr Morrison said “track, trace, isolate and quarantine remain very important parts of the program” in phase B.
The phase will raise the cap for vaccinated Australians traveling from overseas, allow for “reduced” quarantine standards such as home quarantine, and limit entrance for students and economic visa holders.
When 80% of adults have been double-jabbed, Phase C begins, allowing vaccinated Australians to go overseas for any purpose.
Travel bubbles will be established with safer nations like Singapore, allowing vaccinated travelers to enter without having to go through quarantine.
Mr Morrison stated that a country is safe if it had “the same sort of vaccination levels as Australia.” For example, 71.4% of adults in the United Kingdom have been fully immunized.
In Phase C, all internal restrictions on double-jabbed Australians will be lifted, and caps on returning vaccinated Australians will be lifted.
Phase D, which will remove practically all requirements save for testing unvaccinated entrants and quarantine for arrivals from “high risk” areas, has no vaccination rate established.
“It is too hard to say what the situation will be down the track,” Mr Morrison said.
“It will depend on the booster program, which we have ample vaccines for.
“But the durability and the proof of those vaccines over time, there are too many unknowns before we can understand life as normal, but that’s certainly where we are heading.”
According to the Prime Minister, the plan is predicated on the Delta variety and is “subject to change” if a new, more contagious variation emerges.
Modeling scientists at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity are the ones who computed the percentages.
Mr Morrison also considered Treasury’s economic modeling on the effects of lockdowns and the country’s hospital capacity.
A total of 210,742 CCP virus vaccines were provided across the country on Thursday, July 29,—a new high.
So far, 18.24% of those over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated, and 39.46% have received their first dose.
According to a survey released on Thursday by the Grattan Institute, 80 percent of people required to be fully vaccinated before they could open up.
“Abandoning our Zero Covid strategy before 80 per cent of Australians are vaccinated would risk a rapid surge in cases that overwhelms our hospitals and imposes a high death toll,” the Race to 80 report says.
It argues that allowing the virus to spread with half of the population vaccinated will result in 31,440 fatalities in 300 days.
The Institute expects that by December 31, the country will have achieved the 80% target.