All states and territories in Australia have committed to a significant easing of restrictions once they hit 70 per cent double-dose COVID-19 vaccinations among the 16+ population, as the roadmap to reopening progresses.
It comes as part of the federal government’s national plan to transition Australia’s COVID-19 response to the next phase, once the target for vaccinations has been reached.
However, debate continues over when border restrictions will be eased.
Both New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews have abandoned ‘COVID zero’ and admitted that current lockdowns could not eliminate the virus.
Read on to find out when your state or territory is predicted to hit 70 per cent and 80 per cent of fully-vaccinated adult residents, and what restrictions could change, based on figures from COVID Live.
New South Wales
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 45 (October 17)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 59 (October 31)
NSW is in the front pack of the vaccination race, with 70 per cent of eligible residents having received the first shot against the virus.
The NSW government has flagged that at 70 per cent double-dose coverage, vaccinated people can expect to go out for a meal and attend public events.
Premier Berejiklian anticipated on Thursday that date to be “around mid-October”, and also touted potential international travel once 80 per cent of residents were double-vaccinated.
According to data from COVID Live, NSW will meet that second milestone on October 31.
While October will likely see freedoms for the vaccinated, it will also be a time when NSW hospitals will be under the most pressure, Ms Berejiklian warned.
“We always knew September and October would be our most difficult months, but once we get to the higher rates of vaccination, life will be and will feel very much different,” she said.
Tough state border restrictions between New South Wales and Queensland remain and are set to be reviewed on September 10.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 62 (November 3)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 80 (November 21)
Premier Andrews on Wednesday conceded Victoria’s plan to drive COVID-19 cases down to zero was “no longer a realistic strategy”.
The state reported 176 new locally acquired infections on Thursday.
Victoria is estimated to reach 70 per cent single-doses on September 21, but won’t reach the double-dose target until November 3, figures show.
Mr Andrews outlined a limited number of changes to his state’s restrictions when 70 per cent of residents have had their first vaccination.
Once that target has been hit, the 5km travel radius will be expanded to 10km, and Victorians will be able to exercise for an extra hour, up to three hours per day, as well as the reopening of outdoor communal gym equipment and skateparks.
“As we reach the national cabinet threshold of 70 per cent and 80 per cent of people double-dose vaccinated in Victoria, we will ease more restrictions at set intervals,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.
No plans to change Victoria’s border settings once 70 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated have been made public.
The Victorian government tightened the bubble of people permitted to move between states on Wednesday, removing eight local government areas from existing cross-border communities.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 76 (November 17)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 97 (December 8)
Despite living without lockdowns and just one new coronavirus case on Thursday, Premier Palaszczuk called on more Queenslanders to get vaccinated now.
According to Queensland Health authorities, the Sunshine State is on track to reach 70 per cent vaccination rates by early November.
However, figures suggest Queensland won’t reach the 70 per cent deadline until November 17.
Information indicates that more than 51 per cent of Queensland’s eligible population has received at least one dose, while 32 per cent aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
If Queensland reaches its jab target in the next 10 weeks, border restrictions with New South Wales will be removed.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 74 (November 15)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 93 (December 4)
Western Australia’s borders are likely to remain closed until the national plan’s target of vaccinations is met.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan stood firm against pressure to reopen from the federal government on Wednesday as a result of the nation’s rising number of new infections.
Estimates suggest WA will reach the 70 per cent the “fully vaccinated” milestone by November 15.
On Thursday, Mr McGowan announced Victoria was to be classified as a “high risk” zone, while NSW was deemed an “extreme risk”.
Our thoughts are with our friends in Victoria, the ACT and New South Wales as they battle their growing outbreaks. pic.twitter.com/ilGYjSesf1
— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) September 2, 2021
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 61 (November 2)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 79 (November 20)
With no new cases announced and uptake of more than 17,000 vaccinations on Thursday, SA is primed to reach single-dose rates of 70 per cent by October 12, and the fully vaccinated target in less than two months, by November 1.
Currently, South Australia is under level one restrictions.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 39 (October 11)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 54 (October 26)
Tasmania is likely to be the first state in Australia to reach the prized percentage, having already surpassed 60 per cent of jabs for single doses.
It’s predicted to arrive at the double-dose vaccination goal as early as October 11.
As of Thursday, more than 460,00 vaccinations had been administered in Tasmania.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 60 (November 1)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 79 (November 20)
The Northern Territory is in line with Victoria to meet an estimated 70 per cent of fully vaccinated adult residents by November 2.
A Northern Territory Health spokesperson confirmed with The New Daily it is expected to hit the target “in the next couple of months”.
The NT currently has more than 38 per cent of its citizens fully vaccinated.
However, there are ongoing concerns over the number of Indigenous people being left behind by the vaccine rollout.
- Days until 70 per cent double dose: 36 (October 8)
- Days until 80 per cent double dose: 50 (October 22)
While the NSW and Victorian governments have abandoned achieving COVID zero, the Australian Capital Territory’s Chief Minister outlined it was still possible for the territory.
“I don’t think COVID zero is out of reach in relation to this outbreak,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said on Wednesday.
ACT is well ahead of the Australian states in the race to 70 per cent vaccination rates.
It is tipped to pass 70 per cent of adult resident first doses this week (September 7), and hit the 70 per cent marker for second doses on October 8.
What’s next on the roadmap to reopening?
Once Australia hits the threshold of 70 per cent full vaccination among those aged 16 and over, the next phase in the national cabinet’s planned response to COVID-19 will come into effect.
States and territories that have crossed the 70 per cent target will be eligible to move to phase B, allowing them to “ease restrictions on vaccinated residents”.
The roadmap states hitting the target would make “lockdowns less likely but possible”.
In this phase, international border caps and low-level international arrivals would be allowed again, with safe and proportionate quarantine required to minimise risks, as well as the restoration of inbound passenger caps to previous levels for unvaccinated returning travellers and larger caps for returning travellers.
The transition phase seeks to minimise cases in the community through ongoing low-level restrictions and effective “track and trace” and to introduce new, reduced quarantine arrangements for vaccinated residents.