Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 16 JULY 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

Good afternoon,

I have with me the Acting Director of Public Health Dr Scott McKeown and the Commander of Tasmanian Vaccination Emergency Operations Centre Dale Webster who will speak about our vaccination program shortly.

Firstly to our local situation.

Last week, we adopted a precautionary approach when a traveller tested positive to COVID-9 after they had left Tasmania and arrived in the United Kingdom.

A number of sites were identified around the State where that person had visited, to help us to try and identify if that person had either been infectious or infected while they were in Tasmania.

I’m pleased to report at this stage there is no evidence of either transmission from or to this person whilst they were in the State.

In addition, no positive results have so far been detected as a result of the testing that followed, and it’s very pleasing that across the state nearly 2,300 tests have been carried out since Tuesday alone.

So, thank you to all of those people that have played their part, to those businesses that were affected over that period. It's been a very good effort by Tasmanians generally in terms of the testing results, but also those businesses to get on board so quickly.

We'll continue to monitor and check on an ongoing basis as we move forward, so please remain vigilant and get tested, if you have any symptoms at all.

To interstate border restrictions, and it's interesting, just a week ago, we were using border restrictions for a number of jurisdictions, which is a sign of how volatile COVID can be.

Yesterday, we have put back in place a number of border restrictions again.

As the school holidays come to an end, we realise these restrictions will have inconvenienced a lot of Tasmanians and for that I apologise. But at the end of the day, the steps that we've taken right through this have been to ensure the health and safety and wellbeing of all Tasmanians and I want to thank Public Health for all their great work as we worked our way through this.

We announced a lockdown to Victoria yesterday by implementing restrictions for travellers who've been in Victoria on or since the 8th of July.

This means that any traveller, whether a Tasmanian or non-Tasmanian resident, who has been in Victoria on or since that day will not be able to enter Tasmania, unless approved as an essential traveller.

Tasmanian residents in that situation can apply for essential traveller status, as long as they have suitable premises to undertake quarantine if that is approved.

Today, after further advice from Public Health regarding people who are currently in Tasmania who have arrived from Victoria since the 8th of July, using an abundance of caution here, but due to the risk posed to the Tasmanian community,  we're asking those people who have arrived since the 8th of July to wear face masks when in public areas and avoid large gatherings and crowded settings.

There'll be a direction put in place from 11:59pm this evening, but I do want to make this point: if you're going out to a hotel or to a function tonight, please wear a face mask if you have arrived back from Victoria, it just makes common sense.

Dr McKeown will go through the reasons for this, but what we're seeing in Victoria at the moment is a very rapid escalation in the number of exposure sites.

As contact tracing occurs in Victoria, around 15,000 people would have come back into the State since the 8th of July, so it makes sense to take these precautionary efforts.

We expect this to be in place for five days, however, Public Health advisors are liaising with the Department of Education in the event these restrictions might need to be extended and will impact on children and teachers returning to school next week, and we'll continue to work with the Education Department in that regard.

We're also continuing to closely monitor the situation in other states.

I don't think I need to point out that we only need to look at how quickly this latest outbreak has spread to realise the risk that it does pose.

Tasmania continues to lead the states in coverage for both dose one and dose two of the vaccine, with over 42 per cent of Tasmanians having now received a single dose, and almost 18 per cent now fully vaccinated with two doses.

To encourage Tasmanians to continue rolling up their sleeves, I'm pleased that we'll be launching a new ad campaign for a vaccination program featuring Tasmanian personalities.

The first of these will air this Sunday night and will feature Cricket Australia Hall of Fame and much loved Tasmanian David Boon.

Boonie’s rolling up the sleeve and taking the jab, and he's going to remind people to have their second dose of AstraZeneca. The ads will show on TV, printed/social media.

Future ads will feature 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame, along with Australian Test Cricket Captain Tim Payne.

Their ads will be aired when the vaccination program opens up for people aged under 40 later this year.

Importantly, if we continue to support the vaccination effort, we’ll be in the best position to keep the fight up to COVID-19.

Thank you.

***