Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 11 NOVEMBER 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

We’ll continue to take Public Health advice in Tasmania when it comes to our response to COVID-19 and keeping Tasmanians safe.

There is no doubt that this has worked, and as we gradually and responsibly ease our border restrictions, Tasmania remains one of the safest places to be in the world right now.

When it comes to easing border restrictions, we’ve taken Public Health advice on the guiding factors which determines if a state is low risk, medium risk or high risk.

Obviously we moved on Queensland, the ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory on the 26th October.

They were determined low risk jurisdictions.

Also on that date, New South Wales was determined medium risk, and we then transitioned from last Friday the 6th November to where New South Wales was a low risk jurisdiction and entry was able to occur.

Victoria is our closest neighbour and home to so many of our friends and families, and many friends and family of Tasmanians overall.

It’s been very hard on many people, I understand, not being able to see them.

Today, I want to recognise the efforts of all Victorians to bring their situation with COVID-19 under control.

It is a truly outstanding effort, I think, would be fair to say.

With 12 days without a case we’re well on track to easing border restrictions with Victoria, and as I’ve said earlier in the day, from this Friday, the 13 November, Victoria will be classified a medium risk jurisdiction, which means the incoming travellers from Victoria can conduct their 14 days quarantine at home or a designated residence, if appropriate, rather than in a hotel.

Without a residence, they would be in hotel quarantine.

And, moving forward two weeks, aiming for Friday 27th November which has obviously [inaudible] the earmarked 1 December date, subject to matters remaining on track in Victoria and there being no further issues of significant concern, then we would look to open our borders to Victoria as a low risk jurisdiction.

Obviously, this Friday in Tasmania there are a range of things that do change as well which I just want to touch on.

Obviously, mandatory contact tracing comes on Friday the 13th.

Venues must keep contact tracing information for 28 days.

I have to say the feedback from venues has been outstanding in terms of their bid to this.

As I’ve said on many occasions, 80% to 90% of venues were working and had systems in place, it appears that as a result of the move on Friday that they are all getting themselves into line as they need to be.

Obviously, we can provide assistance from Worksafe, if they are seeking further information and the pro forma contact tracing register is available on the Worksafe website.

Importantly, on Friday as well, vertical drinking, as it’s now known, can occur in hospitality areas in outdoor areas only from this Friday, and this will be kept under review, and we’ll look at that as we move closer to Christmas as well.

And from Friday, again, gatherings in households from 20 people to 40, from this Friday, which I think is.., and I know, has been welcomed by many in terms of their forward planning for Christmas.

Now, as the Prime Minister and I announced on Saturday, we’ve reached agreement for Tasmania to assist Australians who wish to return home from overseas countries, which involves us taking up to 450 Australians from overseas countries, which we expect to arrive in Hobart before Christmas.

As I’ve said on many occasions, we won’t turn our back on Australians who are looking to come home and, in fact, many Tasmanians will want to come home as well.

I want to assure Tasmanians that stringent hotel quarantine and testing arrangements will be in place, with security managed by Tasmania Police and the ADF, as was the situation recently. I point to the circumstance with the international Antarctic research travellers.

In terms of these returning Australians, they will all be tested prior to travel.

They will be tested in quarantine, and they must return a negative COVID test on or after Day 10 of their quarantine period before entering our community.

We’re now currently in talks with the Commonwealth to confirm the details and date for the first flight, but we expect it to arrive here somewhere around the 22nd of November. That’s not a hard date, it may be a couple of days before, but we’ll certainly confirm that to ensure that everyone understands when they’re coming in.

At this stage, it appears that it will be an India flight with returning Australians and have around 120 people on board and will be a mixture of singles and family groups.

For clarity, the Best Western Hotel will be the international quarantine hotel for this group.

Just want to, in finishing, just again remind all Tasmanians to continue to take responsibility, to continue to follow the rules.

You know, people around this state have been fantastic in doing the right thing, and it’s important that now, as we gradually open up, that people continue to do that, appropriately socially distance, make sure they have good hand hygiene and, importantly, if they’re not feeling well, if you’re not feeling well, don’t go to work.

I’ll hand over to Dr Veitch for a few comments and then take questions.