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Premiers Concede ‘COVID-zero’ Unlikely

by | Thu, Sep 2 2021

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Gladys Berejiklian is preparing to lay out her vision for opening up NSW, with the state fast-approaching its next vaccination target.

70 percent of eligible people will have had one vaccine dose by Friday.

The Premier says the milestone will indicate when the target of 70 percent fully vaccinated will be met.

Ms Berejiklian won’t say whether people should be banned from travelling interstate if they’re not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Premier said once the vaccination rate reaches 70 percent, fully vaccinated people will be allowed to do many of the things they are currently restricted from doing.

However, she has shied away from saying whether governments should stop the movement of unvaccinated people across borders.

“Many airlines will make those decisions for us”, Ms Berejiklian said, “many airlines will say, ‘you can’t jump on my plane unless you’re vaccinated’ – and they will have every right to do so.”

Premier Berejiklian also said she would welcome other states’ citizens flying into NSW airports.

Further south, greater freedoms for Victoria are now being tied to the vaccination rate.

Premier Daniel Andrews says lockdown restrictions will be wound back once 70 percent of eligible people have had at least one vaccine dose.

He believes that threshold will be met by the end of September.

Victoria is following in the footsteps of NSW by dropping its “COVID zero” goal, as case numbers show no sign of coming down.

On Wednesday the state recorded its biggest daily rise in almost a year, with 120 new locally acquired cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews said health officials are changing tack, due to the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant.

“We had a very small number of cases, we couldn’t have locked down any faster… an army of contact tracers, they couldn’t have worked any harder than they have over these last four weeks – they’ve done an amazing job,” said Mr Andrews.

“Victorians have made enormous sacrifices to get this job done.”

“Sadly we can not now hold out hope for numbers to fall”.

Minor changes to Victoria’s lockdown will come into effect at 11:59 pm on Thursday night.

Playgrounds will reopen – only to children under 12 – with only one parent allowed to attend who must be masked at all times, and ‘check-in’ using a QR code.

Melbourne is on track to break the world record for the number of days spent in hard lockdown.

By September 23, the city will have notched up its 235th day under stay-at-home orders.

Premier Daniel Andrews concedes it’s not easy.

“It’s very, very tough. I don’t expect anyone to be happy about this,” said Mr Andrews.

70 percent of Victorians should have had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by mid-September.