Australia is set to end its “covid zero” policy after Prime Minister Scott Morrison determined that the country’s approach is not “sustainable” in the face of the more infectious COVID-19 delta variant.
Australia has maintained a strict policy of restrictions and lockdowns to stamp out any outbreak, but the government over the weekend laid out a new plan that marks a sharp change in policy.
The government will drop most restrictions once 80% of adults are vaccinated, which the government believes could happen by the end of the year, The Economist reported. Any further action would occur only after hospitals reached a point at which they could no longer cope with new cases, but will otherwise handle what they can.
The delta variant provided a new challenge for a nation that The Washington Post once labeled a “pandemic success story.” The nation responded to the variant by instituting what it called “circuit breakers”: any detected cases would result in a lockdown to stop the spread “at the beginning.”
However, Morrison on Aug. 23 said the current course of action was “not a sustainable way to live in this country.”
“Once you get to 70% of your eligible population being vaccinated, and 80% … the plan sets out we have to move forward,” Morrison said in a video address. “Because if not at 70% and 80%, then when? Then when? This cannot go on forever, this is not a sustainable way to live in this country.” – READ MORE