Canberra [Australia], September 1 (ANI/Sputnik): Some 80 major Australian companies called on state premiers in an open letter on Wednesday to cease COVID-19 lockdowns.
The restrictions have been in place since June in many Australian cities, triggering anti-lockdown protests and arrests.
"We ask governments to work together to implement the National Plan and chart a path out of the current lockdowns," the letter, obtained by The Australian Financial Review newspaper, said.
The businesses, whose chiefs drafted the letter, include retail chain operator Coles group, telecommunications company Telstra, airline Qantas and major banks, which all together employ up to 1 million Australians.
"Providing a light at the end of the tunnel will encourage more Australians to get vaccinated. We need to give people something to hope for, something to look forward to, something to plan around, and to be confident about their futures," the letter read, adding that there may be far-reaching consequences of protracted lockdowns, which are now invisible.
The Australian authorities are aiming to vaccinate 80% of the population, but even afterward, some restrictions will still keep in force. To date, the government has administered over 12 million vaccine doses, which was enough to fully vaccinate 35.7% of people aged over 16, and to give at least one shot to 59.6% of the population over 16 years old. (ANI/Sputnik)