Canberra breaks with Scott Morrison, insists 70 per cent vaccinated ‘not safe’ enough to end lockdowns and Australia will have to wait 80 weeks longer
- ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says 70 percent vaccination target is too low
- Mr Barr says 80 percent of people over 16 must be stabbed before the country reopens
- He also slammed the federal government’s threats to cut aid during lockdowns
- Morrison government said funding would stop once jab rates hit 70-80 percent
Any move to significantly reopen the country before 80 percent of people over 16 are vaccinated has been labeled unsafe by ACT chief minister Andrew Barr.
Canberra has registered 12 new Covid-19 cases as the area’s government considers whether to extend the lockdown, which expires on Thursday.
Barr has also hit back at federal threats to cut aid if states and territories continue to close once Australia hits vaccination thresholds between 70 and 80 percent.
“There’s this obscuring in the ‘oh 70 to 80’ debate. Let’s stop talking about 70 because it’s not safe at 70,” the prime minister told reporters on Monday.
ACT chief Andrew Barr has plans to reopen the country before 80 percent of over 16s get vaccinated, labeled ‘unsafe’
Canberra (pictured) registered 12 new Covid-19 cases on Monday as authorities decide whether to extend the lockdown
‘But 80 is the most realistic step. So 70 would be a small step forward, 80 would be a bigger step.’
Mr Barr said a 70 percent vaccination threshold equates to about 56 percent of the nation when counting young people under the age of 16.
“Therefore, there is a huge risk of 70 percent. And no, states and territories will not be able to come to the aid of each other,” he said.
The prime minister hoped the ACT would have 90 or even 95 percent vaccination coverage by the time the national double dose for people 16 and older reached 80 percent.
He also warned that systems to test, track and quarantine positive cases would not be optimal if there were thousands of new cases per day.
NSW registered 1,290 local infections on Monday.
Mr. Barr pushed back federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s warnings about reduced support for shutdown once key vaccination thresholds were reached.
“The Commonwealth treasurer can speak for himself and will make all kinds of brawny claims about what the Commonwealth will or won’t do and that is perfectly within his rights,” the prime minister said.
‘The experience has been somewhat different. The national plan does not prohibit lockdowns above 80 percent.”
The ACT has achieved a complete vaccination coverage of more than 16 percent at just over 40 percent, compared to about 34 percent nationally.
Barr also denounced the Morrison administration’s threats to cut funding for lockdown once states and territories hit 70 to 80 percent vaccination rates.
There were 1,290 new locally acquired Covid cases registered in NSW on Monday
Mr Barr highlighted that a decision could be announced on Tuesday on whether or not to extend the area’s closure beyond three weeks.
Of Monday’s 12 cases, six were linked and at least half were in the community while contagious.
“We don’t want all the hard work of the past few weeks to be wasted by opening too early,” Barr said.
Canberra has 236 active cases, with 12 in hospital and three in intensive care.
All but one of the hospital patients have not been vaccinated. Another received a single dose.
Health authorities have still not determined the source of about 20 of the total 261 cases since the outbreak began.