Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 17 JULY 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

I’m once again joined by Dr Scott McKeown to provide an update on the COVID situation around the coutry, and what this means to Tasmania.

As you're aware, as of midnight on Thursday we closed our borders with Victoria, given the rapid escalation in cases and increased public exposure sites in that state.

This means that no one can enter Tasmania from Victoria, unless they have an exemption granted from the Deputy State Controller.

The situation in New South Wales, as to date we've been concentrated on the Greater Sydney or metropolitan area, plus the three outlying LGAs.

Tasmania has declared in those areas some 34 Local Government Areas (LGAs) as high risk, and the Fairfield region as high risk level 1, which has imposed border restrictions between those LGAs and Tasmania.

This means we've had the vast majority of the New South Wales population locked out of Tasmania, unless they are granted an exemption.

New South Wales today has recorded a further 111 cases, and there are concerns over the increasing number of unlinked cases and a significant number of those cases which have been infectious whilst in the community.

In response, New South Wales has today imposed tighter restrictions, stopping all non-essential work in terms of a number of LGAs putting further restrictions on movement to attempt to get on top of the situation.

Whilst there is currently no community transmission in regional New South Wales, I’ve received advice today from Public Health regarding the risk being posed there and, importantly, about the movement around the State by people within New South Wales.

The New South Wales Police Commissioner this morning spoke about how they were going to look to ensure that the regions were policed as well, and therefore there's an emerging potential risk within regional New South Wales, and there are a growing number of exposure sites.

Given these concerns, and whilst there is no concurrent community transmission in regional New South Wales, we will declare from midnight tonight all of New South Wales as a high-risk area.

This means that Tasmania's borders will be closed with New South Wales and Victoria, and you will not be able to enter, unless you have an exemption from the Deputy State Controller.

I want to say to Tasmanians, we've been here before and we know how this works.

Freight movements will continue to operate under the National Freight Supply Chain Strategy with strict COVID-safe protocols in place to ensure the safe movement of goods and services.

Public Health is continuing to monitor a number of returned Tasmanians from Victoria, as we announced yesterday, given the escalating number of exposure sites in that state.

Those who have arrived since 8 July, a reminder to avoid social gatherings and to wear masks in public as a precautionary approach, there is a direction in place for that.

Now, given the volatility of the situation in Victoria, I would encourage any of those returning Victorians to limit their movements, to be sensible about where they go, what they do.

We're not imposing self-isolation on them, but we would say at this point in time, be sensible. Now is not the time that you should be in a crowded hotel or going to a high-risk location.

There are around, 500 people in home quarantine, having returned from high-risk areas, and I want to thank them for doing the right thing in staying home and, importantly, since 6pm tonight, we've had around 400 compliance checks carried out by our police and other authorities.

We're taking this very seriously.

I want to stress to those that are in home quarantine, t's important that you abide by the rules.

We’ll continue to ensure that we do checks but, importantly, we're asking you to do the right thing by yourself, your family and the broader community.

There continues to be good levels of testing with over around just under 900 tests conducted yesterday, over 700 the day before that, and over 700 the day before that, again.

I can confirm to date all tests remain negative and, importantly, last night, the wastewater testing that we did was negative as well.

So, my message, before handing over to Dr Scott to provide a little bit more granular detail regarding the situation in New South Wales, is for people to follow the Public Health advice, use the Check-in Tas App at any venue you visit, monitor for symptoms, use COVID-safe behaviours at all times and, importantly, don't hesitate to get tested, if you feel unwell or you display any symptoms, even more ones.

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