|New South Wales Police deploys additional patrols at the shopping center during the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: VOV)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a media briefing Friday that it will move from the current suppression phase of controlling the virus to the next when Australia reaches 70% of the eligible population who are double-dose vaccinated.
That will mean easing restrictions on vaccinated residents, with lockdowns to be implemented only in extreme circumstances and the number of inbound passengers returning to levels seen earlier this year.
Australia is currently in the first phase of the government's four-stage plan to return to normal, which seeks to suppress the virus using lockdowns as the primary tool. 70 percent of the eligible population will need to have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine before the nation moves to the next stage of easing restrictions.
In phase 2, Morrison said lockdowns will become "less likely", but they are "still possible". The next phase of easing will come into force once the nation hits 80 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated.
This third phase will see Australia take a greater step back to normal life by functioning under "baseline restrictions".
The fourth and final phase of the government's four-step plan sees things as "normal" as possible, with international borders finally set to open back up.