/ 24 August 2021

Lockdown lift plan divides leaders

The debate about when Australia will open up as vaccination rates rise has heated up with PM Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews lining up behind National Cabinet’s plan that was agreed at the start of the month. Underpinned by modelling from the Doherty Institute, the idea is COVID could be managed and lockdowns used sparingly once vaccination rates reached 70% and 80%. Despite the agreement, leaders including Western Oz’s Mark McGowan and Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk argue that things have changed (ahem NSW’s 818 new cases yesterday…). And Labor’s Health spokesman Mark Butler yesterday said there would be “hundreds and hundreds more deaths” if lockdowns ended when tracing/testing capabilities were under stress. But PM Morrison said that lockdowns are “taking an extremely heavy toll” and Aussies are doing it because “that sacrifice will get them to the next step, because if not at 70% and 80% then when?”

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