- WA and NT will end their lockdowns, but transitional restrictions remain for a week
- Queensland ends lockdowns in some areas, but extends it another day in others
- A national plan to get the country out of Covid was announced, dependent on vaccinations
Breaking News: Several lockdowns are set to end; Brisbane’s extended; Property industry welcomes pathway out of Covid-19
In a Covid-related news day, both the Western Australian and Northern Territory governments have announced the ending of their respective ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdowns while Queensland has extended its own lockdown for Brisbane and Moreton Bay while lifting it in other areas.
In addition, the National Cabinet sat today and announced a ‘four-phase plan’ out of Covid-19 which relies on targets – mostly vaccination thresholds – being met.
Perth and Peel
A short time ago, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced that this week’s four-day lockdown will end at midnight tonight, with another week of restrictions to follow, easing slightly after an initial transitional three days.
Interim restrictions mean masks will remain mandatory pretty much everywhere, and more work from home for those who can. Private gatherings are allowed, up to ten visitors indoors and 20 outdoors. So home opens and in-person auctions could, theoretically, be held in some cases. However, this will be more likely for next weekend.
In the Northern Territory, the lockdown – the first for the Territory – was lifted today in Darwin and Alice Springs. The wearing of masks is still mandatory where social distancing cannot be practised – such as queuing or working close to colleagues in an office – and up to ten visitors are allowed to homes. Again, as for WA, home opens and auctions will likely be affected.
In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a one-day extension for the Brisbane and Moreton Bay areas while the three-day lockdown will end for other areas such as Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Townsville.
The extension comes after three new local cases were recorded. Significant restrictions will continue for two weeks once the lockdown ends, such as a maximum of 30 people in a home and seated eating and drinking when visiting hospitality establishments.
Earlier this morning, the National Cabinet agreed to a four-phase plan which has the ultimate aim of us becoming a ‘highly vaccinated nation’ where the coronavirus is managed with few restrictions.
Each phase will be based on vaccination thresholds being met along with other criteria.
The property industry has welcomed the roadmap, with Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, welcoming the plan, remarking that it is an essential step in reopening Australia and revitalising the economy.
“Having a National Cabinet endorsed framework for reopening is a welcome and significant step forward which will provide confidence to business and the community,” he said.
However, Mr Morrison said he is disappointed with a 50% reduction in the international arrival cap and reiterated calls to improve hotel and arrival quarantine arrangements in order to accelerate purpose-built quarantine facilities in the major states.
“The return of Australians overseas and the safe immigration of students and high-value workers is entirely possible if we get the front line vaccination improvements National Cabinet is promising, alongside a redoubling of efforts to bring forward the planned delivery of detached quarantine facilities”, Mr Morrison said.
“Students and skilled migrants are an essential part of our success and productivity as a nation. They add to jobs, tourism and overall economic activity.”
“Australia needs to bring our citizens home, safely ease skills shortages and engage with the world – lowering flight caps is a step away from those outcomes”, Mr Morrison concluded.
Australia slips in the vaccination rankings
Meanwhile, Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination rate fell another two places to third last on the Federal Department of Health’s own international benchmark in June, C-suite strategy consultants Provocate revealed today.
Provocate’s VaxEnomic Forecaster shows Australia fell from 10th to 12th of 14 nations in June – overtaken by South Korea and Japan. The Federal Government had previously pointed to both as examples of countries Australia was performing better than.
Provocate Managing Director Troy Bilsborough – a former senior advisor to the Federal Health & Aged Care Minister – welcomed news National Cabinet would set an official herd immunity target, given there was a difference of 13 million jabs in arms between achieving the highest (95% HI) and lowest (70% HI) rates.
“We’re concerned the federal election guessing game could see Australia’s economy held hostage to political Russian roulette while we wait for the bulk of Pfizer stocks to arrive in October.
Since April, Australia has been overtaken by Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the European Union, South Korean and Japan on its vaccination rates. Currently only New Zealand and Canada are behind Australia at the same point in their vaccination rollouts, the latter of which is predicted to take over Australia within weeks.