Australian COVID-19 Panel Supports Reopening Plans Amid Delta Outbreak | Coronavirus pandemic News
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the “forever” lockdowns will do more harm than good for the country, although he acknowledges his concern over infections.
Australia can continue with plans to reopen when the country hits 70-80% of immunization levels, the government’s pandemic modeling adviser has said, although some states have hinted they may not relax the rules. border restrictions if Sydney fails to control its Delta outbreak.
The news comes as New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday officials “are having conversations” about the possibility of giving vaccinated people additional freedoms as her state reaches its target of six million shots – about half the doses needed to immunize its adult population. NSW reported 753 new local cases on Tuesday.
The Melbourne-based Doherty Institute said the country should focus on limiting the number of COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalizations from its current zero-case strategy, when at least 70% of the country’s population over the age of 16 is fully immunized.
“This level of vaccination will make life with the virus easier, as we do with other viruses such as the flu,” he said in a statement Monday evening.
“Once we reach 70% immunization coverage, it is possible to open dozens or hundreds of cases nationwide per day. “
Currently, 30 percent of Australia’s adult population have been fully immunized, while 53 percent have received at least one dose.
Australia in July unveiled a four-step plan for greater freedom with higher vaccination rates.
But the states of Queensland and Western Australia have signaled that they may not stick to the deal as drafted when the number of cases in Sydney was much lower.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the concerns of some states over the Sydney epidemic, but said the “forever” closures would do more harm than good for the country.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 cases or 800 cases, the conclusions are the same, and that’s what the Doherty Institute said … we can do it safely and we have to do it,” he said. Morrison told Nine News on Tuesday.
Australia has suffered less from the coronavirus pandemic than many other developed countries with around 44,600 cases and 984 deaths.
But a third wave of Delta variant infections have plunged Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities and capital Canberra, into a weeklong lockdown.
Victoria state reported 50 new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, up from 71 a day earlier.
Of the new cases, 39 were infectious in the community, with a number of officials saying they need to come down to near zero to ease restrictions.