Vaccinated Australians will get special rules to avoid some lockdown restrictions once 70 per cent of the eligible adult population have had two vaccine doses, and international border rules will be loosened to allow more people to come home.
Once the national vaccination total hits 80 per cent, broad lockdowns will not be used in major cities, caps on returning Australians will be abolished and all restrictions on vaccinated travellers leaving the country will be removed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said national cabinet had agreed to the plans on Friday afternoon after considering scientific modelling from the Doherty Institute and economic advice from Treasury.
“So if you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that apply to you. Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you present less of a public health risk. You are less likely to get the virus. You are less likely to transmit it,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Friday night.
Mr Morrison said lockdowns would continue to be used to deal with COVID-19, but the national plan would give Australians a clear path out of the restrictions. Under the plan, states will have to individually hit the target vaccination levels as well as the nation. The special rules for vaccinated Australians will be considered by a working group made up of the Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania.
The Prime Minister said the lesson from dealing with the Delta variant was that “early and stringent lockdowns” were necessary to deal with outbreaks, and that would be kept in mind during the suppression phase.