Australia’s Most Populous State Hits 67 Percent Vaccination, as ‘Freedom’ Target Looms

By Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu is an Australian reporter based in Sydney. She focuses on the Australian economy, property, and education. Contact her at rebecca.zhu@epochtimes.com.au.
October 4, 2021 Updated: October 5, 2021

Australia’s most populated state, New South Wales (NSW), is rapidly closing in on its 70 percent vaccination target, marking the start of the planned roadmap to reopen the state.

According to the latest numbers, NSW is leading the country as 67 percent of the population aged 16 and over have been fully vaccinated, while 88 percent have received at least one dose.

The state has recorded 623 new cases COVID-19, a number that has continued to trend downwards after hitting its peak in early September.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian does not change the state’s path out of lockdowns.

“She has been absolutely critical to the team, but that doesn’t mean the health team, and the rest of the government won’t continue to do what we need to do,” Hazzard said.

Epoch Times Photo
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard speaks at a press conference before receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine at St George Hospital in Kogarah on March 10, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

On Oct. 11, fully vaccinated people will no longer be subjected to stay-at-home orders, which have been in place since late June.

Masks will no longer be required in outdoor settings, and small outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people will be permitted.

However, community sport will only be allowed once the state hits the 80 percent target, forecasted for Oct. 25.

People will also be required to show proof of vaccination when entering venues, and the government has warned of “significant fines” for businesses that allow entry to people who are unvaccinated.

NSW has been integrating a vaccine passport feature into its existing QR code check-in app. However, it will not be immediately available for use when the state begins to open.

“But the reality is, right now, there are other options of showing your vaccination status,” Dominello said on Sept. 22. “So this is just to make it easier for people.”

The state’s crisis cabinet has also decided to halve the quarantine period from 14 to 7 days for the fully vaccinated who have been identified as close contacts, provided they return a negative COVID-19 test on day 6.

However, those who remain unvaccinated will be forced to wait until Dec. 1 to regain the same freedoms as the vaccinated.

Almost all restrictions will be lifted by December, and proof of vaccination will no longer be required for anyone. Masks will only be required on public transport, planes and airports, and for indoor customer-facing hospitality staff.

Extended lockdowns have heavily impacted Australians’ emotional and mental well-being. As a result, calls against lockdowns and vaccine mandates around the country have become increasingly louder, and protests and demonstrations against the health measures continue.

This follows a recent study that has also shown that more Australians than ever believe that it is important to value freedom over the law.

Rebecca Zhu
Rebecca Zhu is an Australian reporter based in Sydney. She focuses on the Australian economy, property, and education. Contact her at rebecca.zhu@epochtimes.com.au.