CANBERRA — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked the whole country to “continue to press forward” for COVID-19 vaccination targets as the country battles the third wave of infections.
Under Morrison’s pathway out of the pandemic, Australia will start to reopen in phases when 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
“I encourage everybody from tomorrow over 12s, 12 to 15 year olds will be able to get the vaccine,” he said in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
“So we now need to continue to surge forward in these final weeks and months of the programme to get us to those vaccination targets set out in the national plan.” On Monday morning, Australia reported 1,745 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, taking the estimated number of active cases in the country to more than 19,000.
New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 1,257 new cases and seven deaths. Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 473 new local cases.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which is leading the nation in its vaccination rate, recorded 13 new cases.
However, only two of the cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period and the sources of six cases are under investigation.
It means that whether the Canberra lockdown that began on Aug. 12 would end as planned on Friday is still uncertain.
As of Sunday about 67 percent of Australians aged 16 and older had received at least one vaccine dose and 42 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.