Queenscliff leads race to freedom

(Louisa Jones) 247705_13

By Luke Voogt

Queenscliff has become the first Australian local government area (LGA) to reach the Commonwealth’s second reopening target of 80 per cent, according to federal health data.

As of Sunday a nation-leading 80.1 per cent of eligible residents in the Borough of Queenscliffe, which has a median age of 59, were fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.

The municipality was one of four in Australia to reach more than 95 per cent first doses, according to health data released on Monday evening.

Under a federal government plan, released in July, 80 per cent is the threshold for lockdowns to “end almost entirely” with only “highly-targeted” lockdowns of vulnerable communities.

Under Victoria’s reopening roadmap, released last Sunday and based on the national plan, residents will be able to have home visitors and resume community sport at 80 per cent.

The state’s roadmap also includes significantly increased patron limits for venues and ceremonies when Victoria hits the target, expected to occur on November 5.

Geelong, which went back into lockdown along with the Surf Coast this week, reached 81.2 per cent of people aged 15 and over to have received their first dose.

When all of Victoria reaches 80 per cent first doses, expected this Sunday, this will trigger the first step of state government’s roadmap.

Under the step restrictions would remain similar for the majority of regional Victoria, with Geelong and the Surf Coast returning to restrictions similar to those prior to the most recent lockdown.

The percentage of fully-vaccinated residents in greater Geelong, which has median age of 40, increased slightly from 50.2 to 53 in the week to last Sunday.

The Surf Coast Shire had the second-highest percentage of first and second doses of all Victorian LGAs on 90.8 and 63.1 per cent respectively.

Based on current rates, the shire, which has a median age of 42, should reach the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated target within the next fortnight.

When the entire state reaches that mark, expected on October 26, public gatherings can increase to 20 people in regional Victoria.

This stage of the roadmap also includes patron limit increases for venues and ceremonies for regional Victoria, but smaller than those planned for 80 per cent.