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Coronavirus

Australia Pressing Its States to End Lockdowns

September 29, 2021

CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government is ramping up pressure on state governments to end pandemic lockdowns by outlining plans to end financial aid.

The government says in a Wednesday statement that its payments to workers who lose hours due to lockdowns will end two weeks after a state or territory reaches its vaccination benchmark. That benchmark is 80% of residents ages 16 and older being fully inoculated with a double dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna.

State and territory leaders agreed in July that lockdowns would no longer be necessary after that level was achieved. But with the delta variant outbreak worsening in Sydney and Melbourne, some leaders have suggested they may maintain restrictions until 90% are fully vaccinated.

Australia’s government reported Tuesday that less than 53% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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