Australia’s government has stated that once enough people have been fully vaccinated, the country could begin reopening and reducing restrictions. Raising fears in some states about the repercussions of a surge in cases in Sydney, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday (August 23) that when Australia’s vaccination rates reach their targets, the country must begin to learn to live with COVID-19. The highly transmissible Delta variant is currently causing lockdowns in Australia, which have lasted weeks. New Zealand is also dealing with the Delta strain, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claims originated in the Sydney outbreak.
“(Lockdowns) cannot go on forever,” Morrison said in a televised press conference in Canberra, according to Reuters. In this country, this is not a sustainable way of life.” “This groundhog day has to come to an end, and it will come to an end when we reach 70 percent and 80 percent (vaccination rates),” he added. According to the report, Australia will not be able to reach the 80 percent fully vaccinated rate until December. Just “highly targeted lockdowns” would be required once vaccination coverage reaches 80 percent, and vaccinated Australians would be free to travel interstate.
Separately, while there is no authoritative timeline for when pilot schemes to allow international students to return to Australia will begin, Education Minister Alan Tudge previously stated that efforts are being made to get pilot plans up and running to make their return to Australia easier. Tudge said on August 16 at the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit that as Australia’s vaccination rates rise, so will the country’s ability to welcome back international students.
“I am confident that students will return in large numbers once our borders open up. “This conclusion is supported by international student experience data that I recently released, which shows that 91 percent of international students rated their overall living experience in Australia as excellent,” he said.
Tudge added that when international students come back to Australia, the country will need to guarantee greater diversity, stronger alignment with skills shortages and that international and Australian students’ student experiences are maximized.