July 5, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier
On Friday, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison laid out the plan for Australia to transition from the current policy of suppression of COVID-19 – which saw four out of eight states and territories in lockdown last week – to “one that sees us manage COVID-19 as an infectious disease like any other in our community”.
The plan has four phases – the current one, which is “Vaccinate, prepare and pilot”, a “Post Vaccination Phase” a “Consolidation Phase” and a “Final Phase”.
In a nutshell, the current phase sees us ramping up vaccinations to get us all immunised – only 32 million odd vaccine shots to go – as well as trialling entry of international students and economic visa holders and testing alternative quarantine options, including home quarantine for vaccinated travellers.
Lockdowns may still be used in the second phase, although vaccinated residents might be exempt from full lockdowns and border closures. The second phase will also see larger caps allowed for vaccinated international arrivals and reduced quarantine requirements for returning vaccinated residents.
Lockdowns are likely to be abolished by the third phase and vaccinated Australians are likely to face no domestic restrictions. Further measures during this phase may including lifting all restrictions on outbound international travellers and extending unrestricted travel bubble arrangements to destinations like Singapore and the Pacific.
In the final phase, Australia’s borders would be fully open to all vaccinated international travellers who would not need to quarantine on arrival in Australia.
However, there is no current timeline for the implementation of each phase, with each step to be triggered by certain vaccine thresholds which have yet to be determined.
Still, while we wait for those, it provides a good incentive for people to go out and get vaccinated – and a larger incoming supply of the Pfizer vaccine should also contribute to a quickening of the vaccination rate – because as Morrison says, “we get this done Australia and you can see what’s on the other side”.
“We’ve made it very clear today what’s on the other side. You get vaccinated and we get there and this all changes.
“Australia gets vaccinated, Australia is able to live differently. Winning in the post-vaccination phase looks very different to winning in the phase we’re in now.”