Unvaccinated Victorians could be “locked out” of major sporting events and entertainment and hospitality venues when the state’s economy reopens.
As Victoria posted 208 more COVID-19 infections and a death on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews suggested the economy could be closed to “people who won’t protect themselves” once the state reaches 70 per cent vaccination among eligible residents.
“If you’re vaccinated, you are going to be able to participate in the economy, you’re going to be able to go to a pub, the cinema, to a sporting event, you’re going to be able to do all sorts of things that an unvaccinated person is not going to be able to do,” he said.
“Far from being locked into your house, you will have freedoms that others won’t have – they will be locked out of a whole range of venues because they could be vaccinated and they’ve chosen not to.
“Now that might seem a bit harsh. But I’ve said this before and I’ll make the point again that I’m not going to lock the whole state down to protect people who won’t protect themselves.”
Mr Andrews said discussions were under way with industry to see how a “vaccinated economy” would work. Trials of the technology involved will be conducted in regional Victoria after it’s out of lockdown.
Mr Andrews’ message echoed that of his NSW counterpart, Gladys Berejiklian.
She has repeatedly said that more freedoms will be available for residents in her state when it reaches 70 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated. On Friday, she said the yet-to-be-specified freedoms would be immediate from when the target was met – likely in mid-October.
“We’ll put the road map out so people will know exactly what life will be like at 70 per cent,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The public will know exactly what they can and can’t do.
“I don’t want people who have chosen not to get vaccinated to whinge that they can’t do certain things. Only the vaccinated will be able to go out for a meal and do things others can’t do.”
Back in Victoria, Mr Andrews also confirmed work was under way on a home quarantine program to bring stranded residents home from NSW.
Of the state’s 208 cases on Friday, 96 were linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 112 under investigation.
The health department has not provided information about the number of new cases who were in isolation for their infectious period.
The last time Victoria had more than 200 new cases in a single day was August 22, 2020, amid the state’s second wave, when 202 cases were recorded.
The death recorded overnight, a man aged in his 60s from Altona North, is the third fatality this week from the current outbreak.
Friday’s briefing was a marked shift in focus from virus case numbers to vaccination numbers, as Mr Andrews continued to push for people to take up 50,000 available AstraZeneca appointments.
The interval between the AstraZeneca vaccine was halved from 12 to six weeks on Thursday.
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“There is no one in hospital at the moment, on a ventilator, who’s been double dose vaccinated in our state,” Mr Andrews said.
He said about 50,000 priority vaccine appointments would be available for senior high school students from Monday, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools.
Ventilation tests will also be conducted at all state schools before students return for term four.
Meanwhile, hundreds of oral and allied health professionals and students have been given the green light to administer COVID-19 vaccines as the state ramps up its rollout.
The state government has confirmed dentists, dental hygienists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and podiatrists, as well as nursing, midwifery and pharmacy students, will be trained to prepare and administer the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The emergency workforce will be able to assist at state-run hubs, as well as GPs and pharmacies while supervised by an experienced immuniser.
More than 33,000 vaccine doses were administered at state-run hubs on Thursday.
Most of the state’s restrictions will remain in place until at least 70 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, though some reprieve will be granted when 70 per cent have received their first dose.
The 70 per cent first-dose threshold is forecast to be reached about September 20.