The Government’s number one priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the health and safety of Tasmanians and it is pleasing to note the improving situation around the country following the recent outbreaks in Victoria, NSW and WA.
I can confirm that from 12.01am tonight, Victoria will once again be classified as a low-risk area, with unrestricted travel to anyone who has not been in a high-risk premises at the dates and times identified by Public Health.
If you have been at one of those high-risk premises at the specified dates and times, you will not be able to enter Tasmania unless authorised as an Essential Traveller, in which case quarantine and other restrictions can apply.
With regard to Terminal 4 in Melbourne Airport, which was classified as a hot-spot, this classification has now reduced, identifying just those people who purchased food or drink, or sat at the Brunetti café between 4.45am and 2pm on February 9. Those people will need to remain in quarantine for the 14 day period.
Anyone else who spent time in Terminal 4 more broadly during this specified period will no longer need to quarantine from midnight tonight on the proviso they have returned a negative coronavirus test.
We recognise the impact these restrictions have had on many people who had planned holidays, business and other travel, and I thank them for their understanding and patience as the situation has been brought under control.
Public Health will be contacting those people currently in quarantine to confirm they can leave, and it is important to wait until you have been contacted before leaving.
Additionally, with the situation in NSW now largely under control, I am pleased we have been able to remove a number of high-risk sites over recent days as their 14 day risk period has expired.
In regards to New Zealand, the current restrictions remain in place at this stage with Auckland, Taranaki and Waikato remaining high-risk.
Importantly, Tasmania is ready for the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program next week.
The vaccine is safe, free and effective, with the first doses set to arrive on Sunday. The aim is to have fully vaccinated Tasmania’s priority populations of around 14,000 people with the Pfizer vaccine by mid-April.
At the same time as the start of vaccinations at the Royal Hobart Hospital next week, the Commonwealth will begin its rollout program in residential aged and disability care facilities with the first vaccinations being delivered in the North West.
This is good news for our State and another important marker in our fight against this insidious disease that has impacted everyone over this past year.
The vaccine, while not a silver bullet, is an important safeguard to help protect ourselves, our loved ones and the community.
A lot of work has got us to where we are today, and I am very thankful Tasmania is in such a good place, with our economy rebounding and jobs returning.
But there is still a long way to go and it is important we continue to practice COVID-safe behaviours.
Remember to maintain physical distancing and good hand hygiene, stay home if you’re sick, and make sure you get tested even if you have the mildest of symptoms.