The deputy premier of New South Wales in Australia said Monday that citizens who forgo vaccination against COVID-19 will “lose their freedoms,” even after the current lockdown expires.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the statement after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a three-phase strategy to ending the ongoing lockdown. The plan allows for fully vaccinated Aussies to emerge from the draconian restrictions once 70% of the state population has received two doses of an inoculation against COVID-19, Sky News reported.
“A further and final message to regional South Wales … that parts of regional New South Wales are currently open,” he said. “The 70% road map does apply to the whole state, so there will be individuals in regional and rural New South Wales who choose not to be vaccinated who will lose their freedoms on 11 October.”
There are currently portions of NSW where residents — regardless of vaccination status — are not subject to stay-at-home orders and are free to move about as free citizens.
And beginning Oct. 11, when NSW officials believe the state will reach its 70% vaccination benchmark, those who are fully inoculated against the virus will regain much of their autonomy.
It’s worth noting, though, there will remain in place some government restrictions. NSW residents will only be permitted to have up to five people in their homes, for example. That number is expected to increase to 10 one week later, when the government anticipates its population will reach the 80% vaccination checkpoint.
One outlier in the government plan is places of worship, which will be allowed to reopen Oct. 18 for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. All schools will reopen Nov. 8.
Berejiklian stated this week that unvaccinated citizens will have to wait until Dec. 1, when nearly all of the existing government edicts will expire, to enjoy the same freedoms as their vaccinated counterparts.
“They will have to wait 80% plus a month and some,” she said. “It is a disappointing day for those who are unvaccinated.”
Barilaro, for his part, said the government is “seeing vaccination rates climb … across the state,” a development he is “very proud of.”
“We have a number of walk-in clinics without bookings right across the state,” he said. “With Moderna coming online and the additional Pfizer supply and AstraZeneca in abundance, there is no excuse in rural and regional New South Wales not to get vaccinated.”
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