Australian state warns of continuing restrictions for unvaccinated

SYDNEY, Australia -- Authorities of the Australian state of New South Wales said on Monday that greater freedoms promised at 80 percent rates of vaccination would not necessarily be granted to the unvaccinated.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged citizens to remain vigilant, continue to get vaccinated, and warned that those who choose not to get the jabs would likely face exclusions as the state eases restrictions.

"Don't assume that at 80 percent double-dose vaccination that unvaccinated people are going to have all those freedoms. I want to make that point very clear," she said.

"A private business might choose only to welcome patrons who are vaccinated. An airline might say you can only fly with us if you're vaccinated."

Her remarks came after the state recorded 1,257 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8:00 p.m. Sunday night and marked the third consecutive day in which the state's daily cases remained above 1,200, pointing to a potential plateau of daily case growth.

The state also recorded seven deaths in the same time period, bringing the death toll of its current outbreak to 184.

Berejiklian reiterated that the state is still in the process of finalizing exactly what the freedoms at 80 percent vaccination rates would look like.

At present the state's vaccination rate sits at 46 percent of the population over 16 fully vaccinated, and 78.5 percent having received at least one dose.

After the federal government approved Pfizer vaccines for children aged 12 to 15 from Monday, states have begun vaccinating this age group.

Berejiklian confirmed that this vaccination rollout would be counted separately to the tally of the adult population.

At the same time, the state of Victoria witnessed a big surge in the local transmission with 473 locally acquired cases recorded in the 24 hours to midnight Sunday.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley welcomed the expanded eligibility of vaccines to children citing that the majority of the state's cases are in young people.

"We are of course pleased to expand the vaccine eligibility to anyone aged 12 years and over, and with 585 of the current active cases aged 19 or younger, the importance of vaccinating teenagers is clearly very strong," said Foley.