Australian officials are planning to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions for residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after announcing the plans on Monday that are in line with the reopening of the economy before the end of the year.
Travel restrictions in New South Wales, which is the country's most populous state, will slowly be lifted from Oct. 11 to Dec. 1. The plan comes as vaccination rates across the region are gradually pushing through 70%, 80%, and 90%.
Ease of COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions
But the requirements of the eased lockdown restrictions mean that unvaccinated residents will not be eligible to enjoy activities such as community sports, dining out, and shopping, until the final date. In a televised briefing, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian addressed the issue by saying that people who want to participate have to be vaccinated to protect other people.
Berejiklian said that the announcement's message to Australians is that if they want to eat outside with their friends and welcome people inside their homes, they need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The official did not reveal details on how the government's block on the activity of unvaccinated residents will be implemented, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was expecting Australia to fully reopen its international border well before this year ends. Local governments in the region have agreed to slowly ease lockdown restrictions on overseas travel once the nation has reached a vaccination rate of 80% of its population aged 16 years and older.
Morrison said that the first part of the plan would be to allow Australians to travel outside of the country and let citizens come back home. An estimate assumed that over 90% of the country's target age group will be fully vaccinated by the end of November. On Monday, New South Wales reported 787 new local infections and 12 deaths within the past 24 hours.
The lockdown restrictions in Sydney will begin to ease on Oct. 11 after having 70% of its population fully vaccinated. Berejiklian said that 85% of the target population in the area have already been partially vaccinated, The Mercury News reported.
Drop in the Number of Coronavirus Cases
Officials are set to lift the stay-at-home orders in Sydney and New South Wales after the regions hit the vaccination rate thresholds. Across the region, fully vaccinated residents will be able to enter pubs, restaurants, and shops with their friends and families.
"It is just this week and next week that we have to hang in there for. We are nearly, nearly there, and let's not give up at the last minute," Berekjilian said.
Deputy premier John Barilaro said in a statement that the "blueprint for freedom" would soon allow residents to travel across New South Wales when the threshold of 80% vaccination rate is reached.
Restrictions placed on funerals and weddings that limited the number of guests would also be lifted at the same time. On top of that, sporting fixtures will also be allowed to resume operations after the rate is achieved. The situation comes after New South Wales reported much fewer infections since September where 1,500 cases were recorded, Times of India reported.