MELBOURNE: Australia reached on Saturday a full inoculation rate of 80% of those aged 16 and older, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a “magnificent milestone” on the path to becoming one of the world’s most vaccinated countries against Covid-19.
Once a champion of a Covid-zero strategy to manage the pandemic, the country of 25 million has moved towards living with the virus through extensive vaccinations, as the Delta variant has proven too infectious to suppress.
“Another, magnificent milestone, Australia,” Morrison said in a video post on Facebook. “That’s four out of five, how good is that? This has been a true Australian national effort.”
While vaccinations remain voluntary on the federal level, Australia’s states and territories introduced mandatory measures for many occupations and workers. The unvaccinated are barred from many activities, such as dining out or concerts.
On Monday, Australia eased international border curbs for the first time during the pandemic, but only for vaccinated people from highly inoculated states.
Media said about 3,000 people gathered for a peaceful protest against vaccine mandate protests in Melbourne, the capital of the southeastern state of Victoria, which spent nearly nine months in six lockdowns through the pandemic.