On 2 July, the prime minister Scott Morrison has announced a four-phase plan to guide Australia out of the coronavirus pandemic.
National cabinet has agreed to the plan to grant greater freedoms to Australians once a critical mass of the population was vaccinated against coronavirus.
Mr Morrison said the agreement was designed to enable an end to lockdowns and travel restrictions.
“If you get vaccinated, you get to change how we live as a country,” he told reporters.
The four-stage plan is based on modelling work by the Doherty Institute.
The full detail of the new four-stage plan are yet to be revealed, but this is what has been said so far.
Phase one – ‘’Pre-vaccination”
This is the stage Australia is in right now, Mr Morrison said.
It involves the implementation of the national vaccination plan.
National cabinet agreed during this phase lockdowns should be used as a last resort and the trials of alternative quarantine options would start.
The commonwealth’s existing Medicare vaccination certificate, used to determine who has been inoculated, will become easier to access through electronic devices such as phones.
There will also be a further review conducted into the national hotel quarantine network and digital vaccination authentication will be established at international borders.
In addition, the Commonwealth will also facilitate increased commercial flights to the Howard Springs quarantine facility to compensate for cutting the number of travellers to capital cities.
Phase two – ‘Post-vaccination’
Then, Mr Morrison said, “we will move into a phase where we seek to minimise serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality as a result of COVID-19”.
This would likely see more restrictions eased, with lockdowns only occurring in “extreme circumstances” to prevent “escalating hospitalisation and fatality”.
The caps on the number of inbound passengers would be restored to previous levels for unvaccinated returning travellers. Larger caps would be put in place for those who are vaccinated.
New quarantine arrangements would be extended for vaccinated Australians, based on the trials held in the first phase.
National cabinet agreed to cap entry of student and economic visa holders at this point, subject to quarantine availability.
Phase three – ‘Consolidation’
The aim of this phase is to manage COVID-19 in line with public responses to other infectious diseases such as the flu.
That would mean “no lockdowns”, Mr Morirson said, and hospitalisation and fatality rates from COVID-19 would be similar to other well-controlled infections.
It would also see a lifting of restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated people and extending unrestricted travel bubbles for other countries.
An increased cap allowing the entry of student economic and humanitarian visa holders would also be introduced.
Phase four – ‘Back to normal’
The final phase would see an attempt to return the country to a pre-COVID normal, including allowing uncapped inbound travel for all vaccinated people without quarantine.
It would also allow uncapped arrivals of non-vaccinated travel, subject to pre-flight and on arrival COVID-19 testing.
The Australian Medical Association and Australian Industry Group have welcomed the proposed COVID roadmap.