We have today taken the next step in preparedness, declaring a state of emergency for Tasmania, and in response to COVID-19, we are introducing the toughest border restrictions in Australia.
From midnight, Friday 20 March, all non-essential travellers departing for Tasmania will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
This is a tough, but necessary decision to flatten the curve, putting Tasmanians’ health and wellbeing first.
The quarantine period will not apply to essential travellers – such as health care workers, emergency workers, defence personnel, air and ship crew, specialists, and essential freight personnel (truck drivers/spirit freight), and there will be stringent guidelines to manage this.
Travel restrictions do not apply to Tasmanian residents on our islands, such as King and Flinders, flying into mainland Tasmania. However they will apply to anyone travelling inbound to the island from mainland Australia including residents returning home to the island. Mainland Australians flying into our islands then onto mainland Tasmania will need to self- quarantine when they arrive.
All passengers will be screened on arrival and must demonstrate they meet the essential traveller criteria.
If they are deemed non-essential, they will be directed to quarantine themselves at their stated place of address. Tasmania Police and Biosecurity Tasmania will ensure compliance with the quarantine measures, helping people to access support and follow up to ensure the process is adhered to.
Breaching the quarantine process may incur a penalty of up to $16,800.
The message is clear, and the penalties are severe for anyone who does not comply with the mandatory quarantine.
Freight will continue to come in and out of our state, and with TT-Line having capacity to carry extra freight, Tasmanians can be assured we will have the essential supplies we need.
Those requiring interstate medical treatment will also be able to utilise the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service.
There is nothing more important than Tasmanians’ safety, and while the economic impact will be significant, we have a chance now to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state.
This will provide Tasmanians with more certainty, help us to recover more quickly and make our state safer.
Under a State of Emergency, we will activate the State Control Centre, which will be headed by the State Controller (Commissioner of Police, Darren Hine) in close liaison with the Director of Public Health, to coordinate whole-of-government responses to COVID-19.
As an island we are well placed to implement these tough restrictions and slowing the spread of coronavirus will ensure we are better placed to protect all Tasmanians.