Premier Peter Gutwein
Good afternoon, I’ve got Dr Veitch with me and Katherine Morgan Wicks.
As I’ve said on many occasions, our priority is to keep on top of COVID-19, keep our community safe, and keep our community secure.
That’s why we’ve taken action, we’ve moved swiftly in the past, and we will do so into the future.
Given outbreaks occurring in other jurisdictions, I’ve been very clear that we have needed to prepare ourselves for a positive case in Tasmania, and that it was a matter of when, not if.
Today, I can confirm that we have had a positive case this morning confirmed in Tasmania, the first in more than twelve months.
A 31-year-old man who travelled from New South Wales to Tasmania has tested positive.
I want to be clear; this is not a case of community transmission.
This is a case that has been picked up in quarantine.
The details are as follows, and obviously Dr. Veitch will provide more information in a moment.
The man flew from New South Wales to Victoria, before he boarded a flight on Monday, 2nd August, in Victoria to travel to Launceston.
He arrived here from Victoria, without having an endorsed pass. As a result, upon arrival he was directed into hotel quarantine in Launceston and was tested on the 3rd of August.
Between being tested, and receiving his result, the man departed Tasmania directly from hotel quarantine and returned to New South Wales on the 4th of August which is where he is now.
Under the current directions that are in place, people are able to leave quarantine for the purposes only of leaving the state – as we’ve said on many occasions.
Now again, I do want to make the point that this is not a case of community transmission, rather this is one that has been picked up in quarantine.
Our contact tracers have immediately started tracking and tracing.
He travelled through what is an understood corridor from arrival to departure, and this includes the flight from Melbourne.
At the moment, that flight from Melbourne to Launceston which departed from Melbourne on August 2nd at 10:40am and arrived at 11:40am was Virgin flight VA1364 and anyone that travelled on that flight, should immediately self-isolate and wait for public health to contact them.
I’m certain that many will take the opportunity to call the public health line and obviously will provide directions to them there as well. But the message at this point is to self-isolate if you were on that flight and public health will work their way through the manifest and be in touch.
Importantly, for anyone that came into contact with the man on that well understood corridor will be asked to isolate and we will test as quickly as we can.
At this stage, I don’t have confirmation that this is Delta, but on the basis that the man had travelled from New South Wales, there is a high expectation that it would be and so obviously we need to take some steps moving forward.
Firstly, we are not going to be asking anyone in Northern Tasmania to close their business or lockdown at this stage.
As I’ve said, it’s a case in quarantine with a well understood corridor and we will work through that and do our contact tracking and tracing. But obviously, we expect to see a surge in testing certainly tomorrow and I’d expect on Saturday as well. Those that may have had contact as part of the corridor, and I think that when this sort of thing happens, we will see a lot of people that might want to be tested as well.
With that surge and the extra activity that we will see over the weekend, unfortunately we’ve made the decision this morning that the football match scheduled between Collingwood and Hawthorn on Sunday will not go ahead.
I’ve just reached out to the AFL; I have not spoken to Gill McLachlan as yet, but my office is in touch with his at the moment and that will not proceed.
Importantly, more than ever right now Tasmanians need to ensure that they follow the COVID-safe measures that we’ve had in place. Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands and sanitise them regularly, remember appropriate social distancing, and use the Check In Tas app at venues. Importantly, stay home if you’re unwell, and if you feel unwell, get a test.
Our further advice will be provided later today in regards to both the Victorian emerging situation - in terms of the number of cases they have there - and obviously one of the considerations that we’re working through at the moment is whether or not we close our border to Victoria today in light of the circumstance that is starting to evolve there, but further advice will be provided later today, as well as any other public health measures that are determined as necessary as we work our way through the contact tracking and tracing.
Again, I want to reassure Tasmanians that this is not a case of community transmission, it’s a case that’s been identified and picked up from quarantine.
Our border system works; the man arrived here without a pass and was placed into hotel quarantine, but obviously the touchpoints on that corridor need to be fully understood and worked through with our contact tracers.