Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 9 AUGUST 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

I’m pleased to report that after another 24 hours of testing, where another 1,543 tests were completed, all results have again returned negative, which is good news, but we’re not through this yet.

With five days having now passed since COVID-19 was confirmed in that case, with all contacts quarantined or managed appropriately, we are getting more confident in saying that the risk of there being any further cases in Tasmania as a result, is now low. But we’re not through this yet.

And what needs to be understood about testing as we’ve got people in quarantine, they’ve had their first test, that’s negative, but they can still present a positive test at a later date.

Our Public Health officials will continue to manage and monitor the close contacts currently in quarantine to ensure any risk is managed and responded to if required as matters progress through that quarantine period.

This case, while disappointing, has allowed us to test our emergency response and I’d like to congratulate everyone – from our biosecurity authorities through to our hotel quarantine staff, and contract tracers for what has been a very big effort. And the work of our contact tracing team over the weekend has been outstanding.

And to Tasmanians, I also say thank you.  It’s been a prime example of how when we all work together how we can get things done.

Tasmanians turned out in droves to get tested. Importantly, through the lab in the last four days, nearly 6,500 thousand tests have been run. It’s important that we keep our testing response up, and I encourage people to use this case as a wake-up call. We’re not immune from COVID here in Tasmania. And the Delta strain is a different ball game – let me be absolutely clear about that. When we’ve got NSW in lockdown for who knows how long, and other cases we’ve seen around the country.

One other step we’re going to take, I want to announce that from 6pm on Friday this week, 13 August 2021, all Ubers and Taxis will be required to have a QR code check in system in place, and we’ll work with Uber and Taxi companies over the course of the week.

There’s work that’s been underway on this, and it’s been under consideration for some time, and I’m pleased we’ll introduce that now.

Further consideration of buses and other forms of public transport will be considered as well. But noting that, in terms of other jurisdictions, not all have moved to QR codes on public transport, the reason being, that on public transport, there are defined routes and times.

So if, for example, someone were to have a case on the bus in from Glenorchy this morning, that left a certain spot at a certain time, then we can message that up and provide messaging to the people that were on that bus. But again, we’ll work through that and provide further advice as we move through the course of the week.

New South Wales continues to face a very serious situation. They had over 260 cases recorded yesterday and an update will be provided soon.

Today in Victoria, 11 new cases were reported overnight, unfortunately with only one in quarantine during their infectious period. We will continue to monitor that situation and the

Director of Public Health and his team will continue to engage with the AHPPC on a daily basis with those jurisdictions.

Tasmania’s border restrictions with New South Wales and Victoria remain in place, and I want to remind people that NSW is classified as High Risk Level 1 and Victoria classified as High Risk Level 2, including a large number of high risk premises in Victoria. The bottom lines is, that if you’ve been in one of those premises at the time, then you simply can’t come to Tasmania.

The Queensland Government announced yesterday that the lockdown of 11 South East Local Government Areas ended at 4pm as of yesterday afternoon. Public will continue to monitor the situation associated with these 11 LGAs, but our border restrictions remain in place with those 11 LGAs but we’ll update in coming days.

Yesterday Tasmania declared the Cairns and Yarrabah regions as High Risk Level 2 areas from 4pm, in lock step with the Queensland Government’s decision to declare a three-day lockdown for those regions.

This means that from 7pm yesterday 8 August, any person who has been in the Cairns and Yarrabah regions on or since 29 July 2021 will not be permitted to enter Tasmania, unless approved as an essential traveller. If approved, you will need to quarantine in a suitable premises for 14 days.

A Stay at Home Order has also been implemented meaning anyone who is currently in Tasmania who has been in the Cairns and Yarrabah regions on or since 29 July 2021 and has not been directed into home quarantine – that could be someone who travelled in in recent days - should immediately follow the stay-at-home restrictions.

This Direction will be reviewed daily as the Queensland situation evolves and, obviously, that’s currently in place for Cairns and Yarrabah for three days, but we’ll continue to monitor and provide information as that progresses.

As of yesterday, Public Health had contacted people in Tasmania who had reported being in Queensland in the past 14 days by SMS to provide these details to them.

I do want to remind people of what a Stay At Home Order includes. It means a person may leave only for the purposes of:

  • Shopping for necessary goods and services;
  • Accessing medical/health treatment or supplies, including to be tested for COVID-19 but does not include leaving to attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment – if you’ve been placed on a Stay At Home Order, we don’t want you turning up at one of our vaccination clinics. Be tested, but don’t continue with a vaccination appointment at this point in time. Contact Public Health or the vaccination centre and change your appointment;
  • You can attend work or school, if that is unable to be undertaken at home;
  • You can undertake personal exercise, noting that exercise can be undertaken with a person from their household, including carers, or with someone else for safety reasons – but under this order, all exercise activities must be undertaken within a five kilometre radius of your home; and
  • You can shop within 5km of your home unless the necessary goods or services are not available in your area.

Under a Stay At Home Order, you can leave Tasmania. If you are under a Stay At Home Order, you are not in quarantine.

Apart from those rules, we ask that you stay at home or in your premises.

When leaving home, masks must be worn, unless exempted.

People bound by this Stay At Home Order must not have visitors.

I urge anyone who has questions about their personal situation, to please contact the Public Health Hotline for advice on 1800 671 738.

So again – I encourage Tasmanians to stay on top of COVID. Ensure that you do the little things: ensure that you socially distance, that you follow the rules. If you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, even mild, should immediately self-isolate and contact the Public Health Hotline to arrange testing.

Please use the Check in TAS app whenever you enter a businesses or venues displaying the Check in TAS QR code. It’s important that we have that data.

And if you are one of the people that can get the vaccination now – turn up and get the vaccination. It is important. And if you are 60 please call and we will help you find an appointment – the vaccine is your biggest protection against this deadly virus.

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