Australia’s New Four-Phase Plan to Emerge from COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Update #16
BE INFORMED. AVOID FALSE RUMORS.
Getting inside or outside the border during this time is still uncertain. This shows that flattening the curve is difficult for most countries, including Australia.
New vaccination targets have been agreed upon by the National Cabinet last 30 July 2021, which will govern the lifting of limitations and the reopening of the country’s economy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison showed more data regarding the government’s new four-phase plan to return to normal, turning Australia into a fully vaccinated nation with minor restrictions on the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a particular target is acquired, lockdowns will be less likely to be expected. At the same time, border controls at the international level will remain in place.
Furthermore, Mr Morrison claims that the “special rules” will be implemented for citizens who have already completed their vaccination. At that point, implying that citizens of Australia will not be included in some of the present limitations.
Listed below are the phases of Australia’s pandemic response entails, as well as what it will take to grab the next big step towards the end of the pandemic:
Phase 1: Vaccinate, Prepare, Pilot*
Australia is presently in the Phase 1 plan of the government’s four-phase plan to restore stability, which involves utilising lockdowns as the principal instrument to control the virus.
As of July 2021, 19% of Australians aged 16+ are vaccinated and increasing.
This phase includes measures such as:
- Increasing the rate of vaccination
- Closing the international border to prevent the spread of COVID-19, yet the government have travel restrictions and exemptions to enter Australia can be applied and considered.
- Early, stringent, and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur
- Preparing vaccine booster program
What should be the Result of Phase 1 to Continue to Phase 2
Before Australia goes to the next phase of easing limitations, 70% of the eligible population of Australia will need to have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
As per the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison hopes that before the year 2021 ends, the country could reach 70%.
*no jurisdiction required to increase restrictions beyond current settings
Phase 2: Vaccine Transition
Phase 2 enters when 70% of the fully vaccinated population is proven successful. Lockdowns are still possible but will become less likely, Mr Morrison added.
As per the Prime Minister, lockdowns may be necessary for targeted cases, but this is not something that the government expects typically due to the tremendous rate of protection and vaccination that exist within Australia.
Caps on arrivals during phase 2 shall remain, and international arrivals shall still be prohibited.
On the other hand, “special rules” will apply for fully vaccinated Australians who will be given light restrictions compared to those who still don’t have the vaccines.
The Northern Territory, Tasmania, and Victoria have formed a working group to determine what laws shall apply to those fully vaccinated against the COVID-19.
Key Points in The Vaccine Transition:
- Maintaining the high rate of vaccination
- Restoring inbound passenger caps at previous levels for unvaccinated returning travellers and larger caps for vaccinated returning travellers
- Allow capped entry of student and economic visa holders subject to quarantine arrangements and availability
- Lockdowns are less likely but possible
- Preparing or implementing vaccine booster program (depending on timing)
Phase 3: Vaccination Consolidation
When 80% of Australia’s population are fully vaccinated, Phase 3 of the four-phase plan will commence.
The country will return to normalcy with the implementation of “baseline restrictions”, which includes:
- Maximising vaccination coverage
- No caps on returning vaccinated Australians
- Allow increased capped entry of student, economic and humanitarian visa holders
- Lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians
- Extend travel bubble for unrestricted travel to new candidate countries (Singapore, Pacific)
- Gradual reopening of inward and outward international travel with safe countries and proportionate quarantine and reduced requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travellers
- Minimum ongoing baselines restrictions, adjusted to minimise cases without lockdowns
- Continue vaccine booster program
The precautions under this phase will correspond to the high immunisation rates and vaccine booster campaign.
“We have to take each step together, and that starts with walking in the door of the vaccine clinic and seeing that GP, that pharmacist, the state hub, and getting that vaccine.” — Prime Minister
Phase 4: Final Post-Vaccination
Australia’s final phase sees everything return to “normal” soon as possible, reopening international borders.
COVID-19 pandemic will be treated like any other infectious disease in the country of Australia to minimise cases while avoiding continuing restrictions or lockdowns.
On the other hand, some restrictions still need to continue, including boosters as necessary and quarantine for high-risk incoming travellers.
Mr Morrison also mentioned that he did not include a timeline for these four-phase plans, but rather the timeline is in the hands of all Australians in the nation, including the federal government and the territory government.
This phase includes measures such as:
- Open for international borders
- Quarantine for high-risk inbound travel
- Allow uncapped inbound arrivals for all vaccinated persons, without quarantine
- Allow uncapped arrivals for non-vaccinated travellers subject to pre-flight and on arrival testing
- Minimise cases in the community without ongoing restrictions or lockdowns
- Boosters as necessary
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Source: ABC News
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