New South Wales state officials released their much-anticipated "roadmap to freedom" plan Thursday. According to its plan, lockdown and other movement restrictions will be lifted once 70% of all adults have received two vaccine doses.
The state, including its capital and Australia's largest city of Sydney, has been under lockdown since July due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
On Thursday, the state had recorded more than 1,400 new cases, setting yet another daily record. So far, the recent outbreak of the Delta variant has claimed the lives of 153 people.
According to government data, about 43% of all adults in New South Wales have been fully vaccinated, while around 75% have received their first dose. Officials said the state should be able to hit its goal of 70% by next month.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that once the threshold is reached, shops and restaurants will be able to reopen but with some social distancing restrictions. Gyms, retail stores, hair salons, cinemas, museums, stadiums, and theme parks will also be allowed to reopen. Churches and other places of worship will be allowed to reopen but singing will be prohibited.
Once the threshold is met, some movement restrictions will also be lifted. People can now visit their friends and relatives but only a maximum of five people will be allowed per home. Outdoor gatherings will also be allowed but with a maximum of only 20 people. Residents will be allowed to travel around the state.
For outdoor seated events, only up to 500 people will be allowed to attend. For funerals and weddings, there will be a 50-person limit put in place.
Officials have not yet specified how people can prove they are vaccinated but there are reportedly discussions on setting up a vaccination passport using a mobile app.
Apart from NSW, a large portion of Australia is still under lockdown. Outbreaks have occurred in states like Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in recent weeks.
In an effort to hit the vaccination threshold, which is now being adopted for the entire country, the government has increased its vaccine supply to about 10 million doses per week. Australia recently secured some supply from Pfizer and it is now working to also secure doses from other nations.