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The Premier of Australia’s state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, on Tuesday made it clear that COVID mandates that affect unvaccinated citizens and exclude them from many economic and social activities will remain in force for a long time – “well into the 2022,” as he phrased it.
Even those who have been vaccinated with both doses might find themselves excluded from parts of social and economic life unless they take the third, booster dose, Andrews also warned.
But given his explanation of the decision, who’s to say if these restrictions that many consider discriminatory may not continue for much longer – he mentioned the danger of new strains appearing that might derail any plans to open up. Andrews also revealed that he saw no reason to get rid of the orders once they are “up and running.”
“All the architecture that you’ve built, all the infrastructure, the culture that you’ve changed – why would you change that four or five weeks later? We will not be doing that here,” he is quoted as saying.
Andrews at once believes that vaccination is the only way to protect people – and that the virus “will be here for a long time.” His statements appear to be calculated to discourage the unvaccinated who might be hoping they would once again become members of society with full rights in a relatively short amount of time and prod them towards getting the jab.
The comments are also interpreted as Victoria’s authorities’ response to what other states, specifically New South Wales, plan to do. There, Premier Dominic Perrottet said that a majority of COVID restrictions will expire on December 1 when those who have not received the vaccine will once again be able to enter stores.
But Andrews took a hard line that went unopposed at the event he spoke at, including by announcing that there will be no opening up even when 90% of the state’s population has been double vaccinated. This despite the fact that in many places around the world COVID mandates are being eased once that number reaches 60%.
These comments come amid months of protests in Victoria’s capital Melbourne, that brought together thousands of people left jobless by the vaccination mandates. And, reports say, the statements made by Andrews show that their troubles will last at least a year.