Mark Veitch with me again who’ll provide just a short update and take any questions on any of the matters that are raised.
So, this morning we provided an update on the national advice regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, that the Pfizer vaccine would be the preferred vaccine for people under fifty.
Medical advice is clear, and I want to stress that AstraZeneca is considered safe and effective for most cases and remains the recommended vaccine for those over the age of fifty.
For those under the age of fifty there is a very low risk, and I do want to stress, this is a very low risk.
Four to six people in a million, in a million, is the estimated risk setting, so there is a rare blood clotting disease that may occur, and so it is important that we follow the medical advice, which we have done throughout COVID, to keep Tasmanians safe, and we’ll continue to do that.
Now, today I participated in National Cabinet [inaudible] caretaker conventions, and I can update you on the following matters.
Firstly, the Respect at Work report was noted by National Cabinet, and the State will prepare a response well post the election.
The National Cabinet have asked for that in June, and the State will also do some work as well just in terms of the programs that we run out to keep people safe at home in respect to family violence, to understand the investment and resourcing, and that will be provided to the National Cabinet meeting in July, and all states have been requested to do that.
Importantly, and very pleasingly, the Prime Minister also announced today that an additional twenty million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been secured and will arrive in Quarter 4 of this year, which is very pleasing, together with the fact that in Tasmania we’ve already had predominantly Pfizer vaccines arriving in recent days.
It positions us well to continue on with our vaccination rollout plan, however, as we’ve said this morning, we will be taking advice on the recalibration and the timeframes, and we’ll provide a further update when we can.
I’d expect that towards probably the end of next week.
The other matter that National Cabinet also discussed today was the removal of restrictions relating to larger gatherings, indoor and outdoors, at seated events, based on national health advice.
The advice to National Cabinet was that if community transmission remains contained, and I want to stress if it remains contained, if we have an outbreak, then, you know, we will have to put restrictions back in and, you know, lockdowns will always be a possibility. I do want to stress that, it’s important that people continue to do the right thing.
But importantly, if transmission remains contained and we continue to have what is the relative success that were seeing now in terms of the management of international arrivals in other jurisdictions and obviously the COVID risk associated with that is contained to those quarantine facilities, then your constraints around the country will reduce to one person per two square meters which is the position that we hold in Tasmania.
Importantly though, the good news is that the advice received from AHPPC is that large ticketed seated indoor and outdoor venues will be able to move to 100% seating capacity very soon.
Now, discussion with Public Health, the view is that Tasmania will be in a position to adopt the national recommendation and move to 100% seating capacity at ticketed indoor and outdoor events in early May.
I know from recent meetings that we’ve had with our arts and creative community just how important this will be for them.
You know, there has been discussions, obviously, with the theatre season coming on in October, the need to be able to have larger crowds and attendances, and this will enable us to move to 100% in early May.
Obviously, there is work to be done in terms of the events framework, and Public Health will work through those mattes over coming weeks, but I think it’s a very good opportunity for the state in terms of the theatre and arts sector.
The other fact or matter that I would mention as well is that it’s also going to be good for large sporting events, with AFL returning this year and NBL games commencing shortly in Launceston.
So, to those sectors that have been impacted by these restrictions, you know, I thank them for their patience.
I would make the point though, COVID Safe plans will still need to be adopted, there’ll still need to be social distancing as people enter and leave venues, there’ll still need to be appropriate hand hygiene, and those factors and those matters will be worked through by Public Health.
But 100% seating at indoor and outdoor ticketed events from early May, which I think is just fantastic.
Now, as we work through this, as I’ve said, Public Health will work closely with those venues to ensure that the COVID Safe plans are in place and, importantly, that as many Tasmanians as possible can enjoy our local productions and events in a COVID safe way.
I’ll finish where I finish many of these press conferences, we are in a good place in Tasmania, but it’s important that we stay on that good place, and I’d once again just remind people that, you know, whilst it can be frustrating that we do focus on ensuring that we do the small things that we can all do, socially distance, make sure that we have good hand hygiene, cover your coughs and sneezes and make certain that, you know, you follow COVID Safe plans when you’re attending a venue or an event and, importantly, importantly, do not go to work or to an event if you feel ill, ensure that you get a test.
Look, I’ll ask Mark to say a few words and take any questions on the ticketed events, and then I’ll come back for questions.