The premier of the state of Victoria in Australia warned on Sunday that unvaccinated citizens may be hindered from participating in the local economy once the state achieves its vaccination targets to reopen.
Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said that once the state gets to the "[70 and 80%] vaccination double-dose thresholds, the notion of a lockout of the whole community is far less relevant."
"What will become a bigger part of our response is a lockout of many venues for those who are not vaccinated," Andrews announced, according to The Guardian. "I am not going to lock the whole state down to protect people who would not protect themselves. If you are not vaccinated, and you could be, the chances of you booking a ticket at a sporting event, going to a pub...will be very limited."
Andrews said that "more changes" to COVID restrictions, as well as additional outdoor freedom will be announced once the state gets 70% of its entire population vaccinated against the coronavirus. In just five weeks, Victoria achieved a 58.1% vaccination rate, halfway its target of 1 million vaccinated eligible Victorians to get one dose.
The premier also underscored the importance of swiftly vaccinating the rest of the population to achieve its 70% target and therefore make adjustments to restrictions and limitations.
According to Faithwire, Andrews explained that the move was to "protect" the state's health care system and establish a "vaccinated economy." He argued, "If you're making the choice not to get vaccinated, then you're making the wrong choice."
The premier added that it would not be safe for unvaccinated people to be "roaming around the place spreading the virus." Andrews stated firmly that theirs would be a "vaccinated economy and that people only "get to participate in that if you are vaccinated."
On top of mounting pressure to implement vaccine mandates, the Australian government also tested a new app called Home Quarantine SA, which The Atlantic reported was "as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules."
The monitoring app uses facial recognition and geolocation technology to ensure citizens are complying with stay at home orders. The state sends out random text messages, to which citizens must reply within 15 minutes with their selfie in the location where they are supposed to be. Failure to do so will spark a police visit.
Australia is currently still locked out of international travel unless a traveler is granted an exemption. This has left thousands of Australian citizens stranded abroad. Locally, the country implements strict mask wearing and social distancing mandates as well. Australia's vaccination rate as a country is now at 31%, or 7.86 million of those eligible to get the COVID vaccine. It is currently experiencing its third and highest spike in new COVID cases, with an average of about 1,500 new cases daily. The disease has taken the lives of a little over 1,000 people in Australia.