Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 8 AUGUST 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

I just want to thanks our contact tracers and testers over the last 24 hours. Yesterday another 1,248 laboratory tests were completed. Over the last three days, nearly 5,000 tests have been run through our laboratory, and I’m pleased to report, that all tests so far have returned negative results.

This is very welcome news and I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone in our labs, testing facilities and contact tracing teams, who have been working around the clock to ensure we’re on top of this.

Over the next few days, further test results will continue to come in and we’ll keep Tasmanians informed of those results, but it’s fair to say that I’m very hopeful this positive trend will continue.

In total now, we have 139 close contacts of the positive case in quarantine

We believe the risk of community transmission to be extremely low, but we’re not taking any chances, and I would say to Tasmanians, don’t take any chances, continue to do the right thing.

Testing continues of these contacts. As I’ve said, all are negative to date, which is pleasing.

Given this man was infected with the Delta strain, we’re asking all Tasmanians to continue to follow the Public Health advice to the letter – this is serious and you only have to look to what is occurring across the country to see the devastating consequences and understand what can happen if the genie gets out of the bottle. It’s important we stay on top of this.

New South Wales today, with over 260 cases, continues to face a very grave situation and, as I indicated yesterday, once we are through these trying circumstances, Public Health will once again reach out and provide what supports we can in terms  of doing the interviewing, which we’ve been undertaking for them to assist with their contact tracing.

Today in Victoria, 11 new cases have been reported, none of which were in quarantine during their infectious period. Obviously Victoria has a fight in front of it as well.

Tasmania’s border restrictions with Victoria will remain in place, with Victoria classified as High Risk Level 2, including a large number of high risk premises.

Queensland this morning announced they will be lifting their lockdown lockdown of the 11 South East Local Government Areas at 4.00pm today. As is our usual practice, our border restrictions with those 11 LGAs will remain in place for coming days, and will continue to be monitored by Public Health, and we’ll provide further updates during the week on that.

Furthermore, the Queensland Government has announced a new three-day lockdown of Cairns and Yarrabah, in Far North Queensland. I understand that Yarrabah is part of the Cairns LGA. We’re going to apply border restrictions to this area of High Risk Level 2 from 4pm today. Now this means that anyone wishing to travel to Tasmania from either the 11 existing LGAs or Cairns will need to apply for an exemption.

Tasmanian residents will be allowed to return home, but must quarantine upon their return in a suitable premises or in government accommodation.

Public Health will continue to monitor the situation in respect to South East Queensland as well, as we move forward, and we will take into account the number of new cases and the risk level as that progresses in that State.

However, there is good news for those Tasmanians currently in the State that have been under the Stay At Home Order. Those that travelled back to the State and were in the State as a result of the lockdown of the 11 LGAs in South East Queensland. I understand that this is around 5,000 people in the State that are currently on those Stay At Home Orders, and this has meant that returned Tasmanians from those 11 LGAs that came back on or since the 17th of July, had to stay at home

until 14 days have passed since they were last in impacted areas AND following the receipt of a negative test result done on day 12 or after.

Given the time that has now elapsed since we closed our border to those 11 South East Queensland LGAs and based on the Public Health advice, we will be lifting that Stay at Home Order today for those 5,000 people, today from 4pm, meaning that all people impacted by that Order will be free to go about their normal life from that time. They’ll all be sent text messages today and provided with advice.

I want to thank everyone who has been inconvenienced as a result of that, for doing the right thing. Importantly, the State is in a good place, but it is important we keep it there.

I’d like to give a quick update on hotel quarantine, in the last 24 hours, we have 369 people in hotel quarantine, and 1,065 people in home quarantine. There were just under 170 compliance checks done in the last 24 hours, and I’m pleased that in the main, most people are doing the right thing.

To date, five cautions have been issued, two people have received infringement notices up until yesterday, and a further person yesterday received an infringement notice. They attempted to enter the State via the Spirit, without a pass, and were directed to return home, back to Victoria yesterday, but they received an infringement notice to the values of $770.50, which is the standard infringement.

So despite the fact that we are encouraged by the news of the testing over the last couple of days, and I’d just like to thank Tasmanians for turning up and being tested, this is not over yet. I ask Tasmanians to continue to get tested – there are appointments available.

Please get vaccinated – there are appointments available and it’s our best protection against this devastating virus.

Importantly – do the little things. Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash and sanitise your hands regularly, maintain appropriate distancing, stay home if you’re unwell and get tested – even if you have mild symptoms.

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