Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 17 JUNE 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

Good afternoon.

Kathryn Morgan-Wicks the Secretary of Health will provide an update on the vaccination program, and Dr Veitch who will deal with vaccination as well as other Public Health matters.

So, the past week we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in Victoria and also New South Wales.

Our first priority is to keep Tasmanians safe, and as we head into a big weekend of events in Tasmania, this continues to remain at the forefront of our thinking.

While zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Victoria today, authorities in New South Wales have identified a range of exposure sites in that state following confirmation of three confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In terms of border restrictions with Victoria, the travel restrictions we have in place with Metropolitan Melbourne, whilst it’s encouraging to see numbers remaining low and Victorian authorities lifting some further restrictions, our restrictions will stay in place until early next week, as the Director of Public Health has already announced.

A review of the situation, as was announced earlier this week, will take place tomorrow, but I want to foreshadow that the restrictions will stay in place until at least Monday at this stage, post the weekend.

This being said, anyone who has been in the greater Melbourne area in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania cannot enter Tasmania, unless approved as an essential traveller, and if they’ve been at a high-risk premises at the date and time identified, they will not be permitted to enter.

In terms of New South Wales, in relation to our response to the situation there, at this stage close to 40 exposure sites have been identified in a number of areas of Sydney, which Tasmania has declared as high-risk premises.

These premises are listed on the Coronavirus website, and additional premises will continue to be identified and will be added, should they be identified.

If you were at any of these premises at the dates and times identified, you will not be able to enter Tasmania at this time.

We've also contacted people in Tasmania who've been in New South Wales in the 14 days prior to their arrival, advising them to review the current list of premises and isolate and contact the Public Health hotline if they have been at any of those locations.

Anyone who's been in New South Wales since the 11th of June and is now in Tasmania should check the list.

If a person has been at any of the listed high-risk premises at those specified dates and times, they must self-isolate immediately and contact the Public Health hotline for more information.

I want to stress that it is so important that you follow these rules and so very important that you isolate, if unwell and get a test.

With Dark Mofo on and a big weekend of football in front of us, as well as the two Amy Shark concerts, there will be lots of opportunity for people to mix together.

I’m strongly recommending that attendees at these events follow the COVID safe protocols to the letter.

You know, this will be an important weekend.

It's going to be a good weekend, but at the end of the day, it will be the first time that we've had significant numbers of people mixing at a significant number of events.

Have good hand hygiene, make certain that you register when entering events or venues and, importantly, socially distance.

Remember that the best way to manage COVID is to manage yourself appropriately, to be responsible, and do the things that you can do.

This is not over yet.

And, importantly, check-in wherever you go.

Should there be a case, we want to be able to track and trace it very quickly and use the contact tracers as effectively as we possibly can.

Now, in terms of the two AFL matches being hosted in Tasmania this weekend, I have to say that it's great to see the match on Sunday at UTAS between the Hawks and Essendon sold out within a matter of hours.

I just make this point, I think that sends a very strong message to the AFL in terms of rostering.

You know, for years we have been saying that you put the right games on, and we’ll fill the stadiums, and that is exactly what's occurred in this case.

I think there's a salient message there to the AFL, and also a very clear message in terms of the love that Tasmanians have for this game, which will underpin and, I hope, strengthen the view of the AFL in terms of our business case and the process that's currently underway with Colin Carter.

The tickets for the match between North Melbourne and Brisbane at Blundstone on Saturday have gone on sale this morning.

Now, I understand there is strong interest as well.

But, certainly, the blockbuster game in the North has sold out very, very quickly.

The AFL and the clubs involved have been working closely with the State Control Centre and Public Health and have agreed to a range of strict conditions for these matches to be conducted.

The Victorian clubs will fly in on the day of the game and go straight to the ground without any contact with our community.

Once the game is over, all teams - noting that we'll have a team that's flying out of Queensland coming into the ground - all teams will leave directly after the game.

Last weekend's game at Blundstone Arena was successfully conducted under the same arrangements approved by Public Health, and we're confident both games will be conducted in a safe way.

But, again, I would say to the patrons that are attending, be responsible, you know, follow the guidelines that are provided and follow the COVID safe plan.

At the end of the day, be responsible for yourself in terms of your own social distancing and the way that you conduct yourself on either the Saturday or the Sunday afternoon, it's very important.

In terms of vaccination, I want to just address a couple of matters there before Kath provides a broader outline.

The announcement made today relating to the revised advice on AstraZeneca, the AZ vaccine.

[inaudible] the Australian Technical Advisory Group on immunisation has made a recommendation to the Australian Government that the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred vaccine for people aged 50 to 59 years of age.

Previously, the recommended age threshold for the AstraZeneca vaccine was 50 years and over.

The Commonwealth Government accepted the recommendation and has advised all states and territories of this change.

It has also said this change is based on a highly precautionary approach.

For Tasmania, this means that if you are aged between 50 and 59 years of age and have not yet had a first dose of the vaccine, it is recommended that you book in for your first dose with a Pfizer clinic, from today.

Importantly, the expert advice is that if you've already had your first dose of AZ, or AstraZeneca, you should continue to have your second dose.

The advice is that one dose of AstraZeneca is not enough, you must receive the second dose to increase your protection against the.., to the consequences of COVID-19.

I've had my first dose of AstraZeneca, I'll be having a second dose, I understand, around the middle of next month.

And whilst I know that some people have had some flu-like symptoms as a result, in fact, to be frank, I had less of an impact than what I would from a normal flu shot.

So, certainly if you're due to get an AstraZeneca jab, please do it.

In terms of how Tasmania is tracking with our rollout, I want to say thank you to everybody that's been involved and, importantly, those that have rolled up their sleeve already.

As of today, more than a third of Tasmanians eligible for the vaccine 16 years and over have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

We’ve forward bookings in state clinics for June and July of over 56,000 people, and we still have appointments available.

Getting as many Tasmanians vaccinated quickly is our priority, and I’m urging every eligible Tasmanian to commit to an appointment in coming weeks.

I’ll now hand over to the Secretary of Health, Kathryn Morgan-Wicks, to provide you with more detail on the vaccination rollout.