Australia’s state of Victoria will “lock out” people who’re unvaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) from participating in the economy, according to Premier Dan Andrews.

Victoria is currently subject to strict lockdown restrictions. Residents of Melbourne, the state capital and most populous city, are living under a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and are forbidden to leave their homes except to work, buy groceries or get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Restrictions to apply only to unvaccinated in Victoria

While Victoria’s draconian restrictions are set to be lifted, Premier Dan Andres said that future restrictions will be applied to those who are unvaccinated.

“There is going to be a vaccinated economy, and you get to participate in that if you are vaccinated,” said Andrews on Sunday, Sept. 6. “We’re going to move to a situation where, to protect the health system, we are going to lock out people who are not vaccinated and can be.”

He added: “If you’re making the choice not to get vaccinated, then you’re making the wrong choice.”

Defending his statement, Andrews said he did not want to have to lock down the entire state for everyone, just to protect those who choose not to get vaccinated.

“I am not going to lock the whole state down to protect people who would not protect themselves,” he said Friday, Sept. 3. “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.”

Victoria is more than halfway to its target of 1 million vaccinations, with 58.1 percent of eligible citizens to have received their first dose, in five weeks.

“We are still obviously a number of days away from being at that milestone … of 70% single dose but … the quicker we get to 70%, the more vaccinations undertaken, the more we will be able to make those changes announced the other day,” Andrews said.

The proposed restrictions on the unvaccinated then will become a mechanism for the state government to ‘encourage’ people to get jabbed, allowing Victoria to reach its vaccination goals.

Victoria restrictions could have ramifications for the rest of Australia

Restrictions for the unvaccinated are just the beginning of the measures that the Victoria state government is looking to implement.

Andrews revealed that a “vaccine passport” scheme would be piloted in regional Victoria in the coming weeks. With this passport, proof of vaccination would be required to enter public establishments, such as pubs and restaurants.

Victorian pub owners are reportedly on board with the idea. Talking to ABC Australia, one bar owner stated that “whilst we certainly don’t like the idea of turning anyone away, we need to do whatever it takes to ensure the survival of our business.”

The state’s implementation of a vaccine passport could also have wider implications for the rest of Australia. 

Earlier this summer, the Australian government agreed to study the rollout of Victoria’s vaccine passport scheme. This was to be done with the view to eventually implementing a similar scheme nationwide.

Should Victoria’s restriction give them the numbers they need, then it’s possible that other measures the state has taken, including locking unvaccinated people out of the economy, may be copied in other Australian states.

Other Australian states have already implemented their own restrictions. Among these is New South Wales where Premier Gladys Brejiklian imposed a similarly rigorous lockdown last month. This lockdown, which is slated to run until at least the end of September, is currently being imposed by hundreds of police officers and soldiers on the streets of Sydney.

In addition, police have also been given the power to lock down entire apartment blocks and enforce “compliance checks” on residents.

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