Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 31 MARCH 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

A year on from Easter 2020, thanks to the amazing efforts of Tasmanians, we are in a good place, but the outbreak in Queensland is a stark reminder of why we just cannot be complacent.

On Monday, the greater Brisbane region entered a three-day lockdown after the detection of locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

It’s a reminder that even as the vaccination program progresses, the risk of COVID-19 remains very real.

As we’ve done throughout COVID-19, we’ll continue to act to keep Tasmanians safe, with border restrictions and other measures as required.

On Monday, we announced the Queensland Local Government areas of Brisbane, Logan, Morton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands have been declared high risk areas, a large number of premises have now also been identified as high risk, for those Local Government areas, as well as some outside of those LGAs in Queensland and some in New South Wales.

What this means is that you cannot enter Tasmania, if you’ve been in any of those high risk Local Government areas or high risk premises in the 14 days prior to your arrival in Tasmania, unless you are approved as an essential traveller.

Anyone currently in Tasmania who’s been at any high risk premises in Queensland or New South Wales at the identified dates and times should immediately self-isolate and call the Public Health hotline on 1800 671 738 and let the operator know you require further advice then from Public Health.

If you’re currently in Tasmania and have been at any of the high risk LGA since Saturday March 20, immediately self-isolate and call the Public Health hotline to arrange a COVID-19 test.

If you’ve been at one of the high risk premises on the dates and times identified when you call the hotline, let the operator know. You’ll require and receive further advice from Public Health.

If you’ve been in a high risk LGA and have been at a high risk premises, you’re require to complete 14 days of quarantine, regardless of your test result.

If you’ve only been in a higher risk Local Government area and not been at one of the high risk premises, you can leave isolation if you receive a negative test result, as long as you’re not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

I encourage people to go to the travel alert page on the coronavirus website for the latest list of high risk premises, which is regularly changing, and at the moment, there are over 76 high risk premises that have been listed in Queensland and 12 that have been listed in New South Wales.

At this stage, travellers are able to transit from low risk areas outside of those five Local Government areas directly through those high risk areas or high risk LGAs to the Brisbane Airport without being subject to quarantine requirements when arriving in Tasmania, if they comply with certain conditions, which is the same process that we have applied right through this.

Again, the coronavirus website has the full list of those conditions.

Now, as we saw yesterday, the measures put in place to respond to the Queensland situation have generated significant and increased demand for COVID-19 testing in Tasmania and traffic to the Public Health hotline.

I understand how challenging this has been for people, and we are taking steps to ensure we’ve got more people in the call centre, and we’ve now got a range of measures in place which Kathryn will work through.

But it would be fair to say that yesterday was a record number of tests in Tasmania.

I do thank people for their patience and for turning up and getting tested.

An extra testing clinic is being stood up at Kingston, and the Launceston testing clinic is now operating on bookings to speed up the testing procedure, reduce traffic and congestion at the site.

While I understand that these delays can be frustrating, please know our teams are working as quickly as possible to get through the demand.

One point I would make is that right around the country yesterday, testing clinics were running flat-out as a result of the Queensland circumstance.

There are important safeguards to keep Tasmanians safe, and I’d urge everyone to be patient as we work to respond to the additional hotline and testing demand.

Now, in terms of vaccinations, while our authorities continue to respond to the situation in Brisbane, the rollout of the vaccination program in Tasmania continues.

As of last night, more than 25,000 doses have been delivered across Tasmania as part of both the Tasmanian and Australian Government rollouts.

Kathryn will provide you with a breakdown in terms of the Tasmanian Government’s rollout and their share of that 25,000 and the Australian Government’s and, you know, very pleasingly, the Tasmanian Government is doing very well and has got a significant number of those doses out and into people’s arms.

Hospital clinics continue to vaccinate our priority groups with around 1,100 a week receiving their second dose.

Our community clinics have also been very busy, and we’ll shortly open a new clinic in the North West.

More GPs will be joining the program and vaccinating people right around the state.

I’d again like to thank our hardworking teams who are working around the clock to roll out this huge logistical exercise, as well as all the Tasmanians who have so far come forward to roll up their sleeve to be vaccinated.

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