Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that Australians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may soon be granted greater freedoms than those who are not willing to take on the jab’s risks.
In a conference call with constituents this week, he talked about placing restrictions on Australians who don’t get the shot that would see them banned from restaurants and bars.
His remarks can be heard in audio obtained by the Daily Mail Australia. When one fully vaccinated voter expressed his frustration during the conference call at being in lockdown despite getting the vaccine and said he felt more Australians would get the shot if businesses could open only to fully vaccinated patrons, Morrison agreed that it was something that should be considered when more of the population is vaccinated.
He said: “When we have such a large unvaccinated population and particularly when we’ve got an outbreak of the Delta variant, and we’re getting increasing evidence to show it’s more probably damaging to people’s health, that could move through the unvaccinated population very quick and could even come from people who are vaccinated.”
He added: “When we get our vaccination levels a lot higher, I agree with you, and I think there should be those advantages to those who have done that and taken the opportunity.”
However, it appears that he is not staying on top of the latest research – or is choosing to ignore it – as he said: “Because if you’re vaccinated, you’re less of a public health risk than you are to someone who’s unvaccinated.”
This week, data from the CDC showed that the Delta variant of coronavirus is equally contagious, regardless of whether it is contracted by a person who is vaccinated or unvaccinated. In other words, all people are equally capable of passing this virus on to others.
So far, just 17 percent of Australians aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated. Morrison has said that lockdowns may become more targeted when 70 percent of the country is vaccinated, something he thinks may happen by the end of this year.
Lockdowns being heavily enforced in Australia
Over the weekend, Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane, was plunged into a snap three-day lockdown aimed at stemming the spread of the Delta variant there. Queensland officials have reported six new cases of COVID-19 there, all of which have been linked to a high school student in the area who tested positive for the virus last week. Contact tracers reported that there could be “an enormous number of exposure sites” in the city and urged those with symptoms to get tested.
Although these short-term lockdowns are not unprecedented in Australia, the current one is the strictest yet to be seen in the city, with people only permitted to leave their homes to purchase essential goods, conduct essential work, exercise or get medical treatment.
Australia is taking extreme measures to enforce its lockdowns. In Sydney, hundreds of soldiers were deployed to enforce a COVID-19 lockdown that is in place until August 28 at the earliest. In New South Wales, meanwhile, police arrested dozens of people who were protesting restrictions, according to the BBC.
If the country does push ahead with plans to ban unvaccinated people from certain public spaces, they’ll be joining places like France, who has introduced laws that will require anyone who enters an indoor public setting to present a vaccine certificate or negative COVID-19 test results. This includes restaurants, shops, hospitals, retirement homes, cultural venues and long-distance transportation. In Italy, people will be required to show proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 tests to access indoor dining, shows, gyms, public exams and museums. So many countries are moving closer to excluding unvaccinated people from society entirely, even though we now know that vaccinated people are just as contagious.
Sources for this article include: