UPDATED 7:19 AM PT – Saturday, October 2, 2021
The prime minister of Australia has hoped to quell anger over strict lockdowns as he set a timeline to open the country’s international borders. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced guidelines for reopening on Friday, in which he said fully vaccination Australian residents could travel again in November if the population reached an 80 percent vaccination rate.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” he stated. “…We must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country.”
As the nation has shifted into Phase C, the third step of its four step plan, residents would be able to gradually return to a more normal life by functioning under “baseline restrictions.”
Morrison went on to explain, “we will be able to open those international borders again and that will enable Australians who are fully vaccinated, and Australians and residents of Australia who are overseas, who are fully vaccinated, to be able to travel again and to be able to lift those caps on our airports in states where they have moved into Phase C of the program.”
This daily 📅 infographic provides a quick view of the current coronavirus (#COVID19) situation in Australia 🇦🇺
— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) October 1, 2021
With the borders closed for more than 18 months, thousands of residents overseas have been left stranded and unable to return to their families due to strict COVID-19 policies. Within the country, frustration and anger with the government has boiled over.
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters flooded the streets in Melbourne last month, where more than 200 were arrested amid violent clashes with Australian police. Residents wanted their freedom back and have been making that clear for weeks.
Australians became fed up with the government after the state of Victoria issued another lock down extension. Earlier this week, people in Melbourne expressed concern over state leadership by saying things were only getting worse.
The authoritarian rule hasn’t seemed to be doing much in terms of vaccination rates as just 55 percent of Australia’s population was fully vaccinated. Officials predicted the number would increase to 70 percent by the end of the month, which was a far cry from the recently announced 80 percent goal.