“This is not a sustainable way to live in this country,” Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared about the nation’s COVID-19 strategy on August 23.
Since the pandemic started, Australia has followed an approach dubbed as “COVID Zero” to stamp any outbreak, down to the last case. Then, following the outbreak of Delta variant, Australia instituted “circuit breakers,” meaning any detected cases would result in a lockdown to stop the spread “at the beginning.”
Realizing this strategy is not logical, Australia now says it will end its “COVID Zero” policy and allow cases to rise as long as hospitals can cope with them.
“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.”
The government will drop most restrictions once 80% of adults are vaccinated, a mark which Australia says it could reach by the end of the year. However, the nation has a long way to go. Just over 27% of the country is fully vaccinated currently, and less than half the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.
For now, more than half of the country has been in lockdown for weeks. Yes, this is the same Australia that the Washington Post labeled a “pandemic success story” last fall.
Australia recorded 1,126 new cases on Saturday.