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Snap Lockdown Essential, For Now: Australian Treasurer

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said modeling shows until 70 percent of the country is vaccinated, governments must quickly move.

CANBERRA, Australia — Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned until 70 percent of Australians are vaccinated, it is an economic imperative that governments move fast to get on top of coronavirus cases.

Joshua Anthony Frydenberg is an Australian politician who has been federal treasurer and deputy leader of the Liberal Party since August 2018. He has been a Member of Parliament for Kooyong since the 2010 election.

“If they do not, we see lengthier and more severe lockdowns which have a much higher economic cost,” he said.

The treasurer provided a briefing on Treasury’s modeling in conjunction with the Doherty Institute, which has set vaccination levels of 70 and 80 percent to lessen the need for lockdowns and free-up state and international borders.

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity is a joint venture between Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

There have been 34,384 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 924 deaths in Australia as reported to the World Health Organization. As of July 23, 2021, a total of 11,140,511 vaccine doses have been administered. (Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash)

Treasury found that at 50 and 60 percent vaccination rates, it is five times more costly to the economy should governments not move early to get on top of the virus, and instead, they should move quickly to contain an outbreak.

“That is the short, sharp lockdowns that we’re now seeing in Queensland, that we’ve seen in Victoria and that we have seen in South Australia,” Frydenberg said.

He did not mention New South Wales that remains in lengthy lockdown until at least August 28.

Treasury’s analysis also found that the economic cost to the country of managing Covid-19 comes down as vaccination rates go up.

At 50 percent vaccination rates, if governments are getting on top of those early cases, it costs the economy AU$570 million ($421 million) a week. In comparison, at 60 percent, it still costs AU$430 million ($318 million) a week.

But at a 70 percent vaccination rate, the cost comes down to AU$200 million ($147 million) a week, and at 80 percent, the cost is AU$140 million ($103.5 million) a week.

There have been 34,384 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 924 deaths in Australia as reported to the World Health Organization. As of July 23, 2021, a total of 11,140,511 vaccine doses have been administered.

One in five (20 percent) Australians in June 2021, experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in the last four weeks, similar to March 2021 (20 percent) and November 2020 (21 percent), as per reports by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Almost one in three (30 percent) younger Australians (aged 18 to 34 years) experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in June 2021, compared with 18 percent of people aged 35 to 64 years and 10 percent of people aged 65 and over,” states the report.

“Also, in June 2021, more people living in Victoria (27 percent) experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress compared with the rest of Australia (18 percent).”

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra