Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 21 JANUARY 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

Now, we’ll provide an update this afternoon on both Queensland and New South Wales, a day earlier than what we originally planned.

Now, it’s very positive to see the COVID situation in both states has continued to improve over the course of the week, with no new locally acquired cases in either jurisdiction today.

Following a Public Health assessment, the latest information for both of these states, I’m pleased to announce some changes, some positive changes to our current border restrictions with these two states which will come into effect from midnight tonight, technically from one minute past midnight tonight.

In relation to Queensland, Public Health has advised that we can move the greater Brisbane Local Government areas of Brisbane, Morton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan from medium risk to low risk from midnight tonight.

That means that Queensland will be at low risk, and that Queenslanders entering the state will no longer need to quarantine.

Importantly, travellers in Tasmania who are currently in quarantine because they had been in any one of those Brisbane Local Government areas in the 14 days prior to their arrival will be able to end their quarantine period from midnight tonight.

Not everybody, I’m sure, will race out at one minute past twelve, some may like to sleep through the course of the night, but I think it will be welcome news, and if you are in Government-designated quarantine, then you’ll need to make arrangements with your Government liaison officer at your accommodation to arrange a time for your departure.

So, as I’ve said, one again we have unrestricted travel with all of Queensland, and I know that for many Tasmanians and certainly Queenslanders looking to visit Tasmania that will be positive news.

In terms of New South Wales, I just stress currently regional New South Wales is at low risk, and you can enter Tasmania transiting through an airport or via the Spirit, subject to obviously Victoria’s arrangement without quarantine.

However, greater Sydney has been held as a medium risk level.

New South Wales has also gone a number of days without cases of community transmission, however, we do want to continue to that a cautious approach in relation to the recent outbreak in western Sydney linked to the BWS outlet in Berala.

With that in mind and following again Public Health consideration and advice on the situation in New South Wales, as a result of the reducing risk, we will be moving 24 of the greater Sydney Local Government areas to low risk with effect from midnight to tonight.

However, there are still going to remain 10 Local Government areas in greater Sydney where there were community cases or places where cases may have exposed others which we’ll be maintaining as a medium risk for a further period of time until we have greater certainty that the cluster has been extinguished.

The ten Local Government areas that will remain at medium risk, and at medium risk meaning that anyone travelling from there to Tasmania will need to quarantine, are Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Inner West, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield.

And for those of you that understand the map, you’ll note that they are contiguous to each other, they are a grouping of suburbs effectively in that particular area.

Again, I just make the point, travellers who have been in those local areas in the 14 days prior to their arrival will still be required to quarantine for 14 days on their arrival in Tasmania.

If they have suitable premises, they’ll be able to undertake the quarantine at those premises, otherwise they’ll be required to undertake their quarantine at a Government-designated premises, where fees may apply.

If you’ve not been in those ten Local Government areas, you’ll not be required to quarantine on arrival.

And, again, anyone who is currently in quarantine will be required to complete that quarantine, if they were in any of those ten Local Government areas.

However, if you weren’t in those areas and were in the 24 that have just moved to low risk, again, you’ll be able to end your quarantine from midnight tonight.

And as I’ve previously stated, regional New South Wales remains on low risk, and there is no change there with unrestricted travel.

Importantly, I’ll ask all travellers to again continue to check the coronavirus website, look at the medium risk Local Government areas and notify authorities if you’ve been in one of those LGAs when you’re completing your Good2Go or Tas-E travel pass.

If you are travelling, and again I just make the point, make sure that you do keep an eye on that website, and if circumstances change, then you’ll be aware of those.

I’d just make a point as well, and I know that, just from talking to some people who have travelled in recent times, to anyone looking to travel to Tasmania or Tasmanians looking to return, make certain you complete the Tas-E travel pass.

As I understand it, we have the gold standard in terms of [inaudible] into the state at our airports, and it certainly makes it easier if people complete the Tas-E travel pass, especially if they can do that online, as opposed to the paper version, but for those that don’t have access, a paper version will be available.

I want to say and, importantly, to those that have been travelling to Tasmania and those that unfortunately have been caught up in some of the restrictions, I want to thank them for their patience through this.

You know, having been around the state, I note there are more people moving around the state.

You know, it’s been a challenging period of time.

I’m pleased that we’re now taking this step, but, you know, I’d like to stress I think that, you know, at different times these types of restrictions will be imposed when there is a risk to Tasmanians, and we will move very quickly to do so if that is the case.

Importantly, the overall message doesn’t change, for two everyone, please ensure that you maintain good hygiene, wash your hands regularly, get tested if you have symptoms, stay home if you are sick, don’t go to functions, especially at this time of year, cover your coughs and sneezes appropriately and follow the latest restrictions as they come up.