Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania


Premier Peter Gutwein

Good afternoon everyone, I'm joined by the Attorney-General Elise Archer who will provide an update on some matters relating to the Public Trustee.

Obviously, Kathryn Morgan-Wicks and Dr Mark Veitch are here as well today.

What we’ll do is work through the update on coronavirus and then, after Mark’s finished taking questions, the Attorney will make an announcement and then come back for questions, if that suits, on broader matters.

As I’ve said on many occasions, our number one priority is to protect the health and safety of Tasmanians, and the last fortnight in Victoria has reminded us that the threat from COVID is not yet over.

Victorians have made huge sacrifices over the past fortnight.

Today, four new locally acquired cases have been reported.

However, their situation seems to be broadly under control, and what we’re hearing is that they are tracking and tracing as effectively as anywhere else in the country at the moment.

Tasmanian Public Health authorities continue to monitor the situation in Victoria daily, including the changes to lockdown restrictions in that state that will be coming into effect from this evening.

Based on the current situation in Victoria, regional Victoria will be downgraded to low-risk from midnight tonight under our Tasmanian border controls.

Metropolitan Melbourne, if I understand, is around 31, or is 31 Local Government areas.

They are listed on the Victorian coronavirus website at the moment, and we will be adopting those 31 LGAs through metropolitan Melbourne, which consists of those 31 LGAs, will remain high-risk and will continued to be monitored daily, however, at this stage it’s unlikely that it’ll be downgraded to low-risk until after the long weekend.

As a result of these changes, people who have only been in regional Victoria in the 14 days before they arrive in Tasmania will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Tasmania.

They must register to enter the state through the Tas E-travel system which my feedback is from around the country is, I think, one of the best gatekeeping entry apps that is going around, to be frank.

They’ll need to use that system to confirm that they’ve not been at any high-risk premises, visited by COVID cases and that they have transited directly through metropolitan Melbourne.

Because metropolitan Melbourne remains high-risk, anyone who has been in this area in the 14 days before they and by being in this area, have not transited directly through before they arrive in Tasmania will not be permitted to enter Tasmania, unless approved as an essential traveller.

If approved to enter Tasmania, they’ll be required to quarantine for 14 days at suitable premises, if available, otherwise in government-designated accommodation at their own cost.

Those currently in quarantine will not be able to leave at midnight, and tonight, if they were not in metropolitan Melbourne in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania they will be able to leave at midnight, so I think that there’ll be some very happy people in terms of the more than 1,100 adults that we currently have in quarantine at the moment.

These people will be contacted by the COVID-19 Coordination Centre to confirm this, so please check your G2G pass account and be alert for an SMS and email message this afternoon, if you are in home quarantine or Government quarantine at the moment.

There are currently high-risk premises in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, and if you’ve been in any of these premises, you cannot enter Tasmania as per the Public Health advice.

If you’re already in Tasmania and have spent time at any of these sites, noting that these sites are being added to as other states pick them up, if you’ve been at any of these sites, then it’s best you self-isolate immediately, if you’re not already, and call the Public Health hotline for further advice.

I want to remind everyone how important it is to monitor your health.

If you have any symptoms, even mild, isolate immediately and book at a test with the Public Health hotline.

Keep checking the list of high-risk premises at the coronavirus website, as more sites are being added, sometimes several times each day, as I have just said.

Tasmanians planning to go interstate for work or personal travel, it’s a reminder that it’s your responsibility to keep up to date on border restrictions.

As we know, COVID cases emerge without warning, and rules around returning to Tasmania can change very rapidly.

We will do our very best to communicate them as effectively as we can when they do.

In terms of the vaccination update, which Kathryn Morgan-Wicks will cover off in more detail in a moment, I want to thank those Tasmanians who’ve come forward already.

Tomorrow marks the end of Week 16, and I’m pleased to announce over 30% of Tasmanians who are eligible have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, that’s around 135,000 Tasmanians.

Tasmanians are hearing the ‘Don’t Wait, Vaccinate’ message, with over 19,000 vaccinations in the last week.

We have forward bookings in our state clinics for June of over 35,000 people.

Importantly, we still have appointments available.

GP respiratory clinics and GP clinics also have appointments for late June, and 11 more GPs will commence vaccinations across Tasmania shortly.

Getting as many Tasmanians vaccinated quickly is our absolutely priority, and I urge every eligible Tasmanian to book an appointment in coming weeks.

You know, let’s get on with this and get the job done.

The Victorian outbreak has demonstrated the importance of ensuring that frontline workers and aged care, health, disability, border and quarantine are fully vaccinated, and my message to those workers who have not have a first dose is Don’t Wait, Vaccinate.

I want to just very quickly touch on the expanse of the eligible criteria which was announced last week, which has seen strong demand from those Tasmanians aged 40 years and over.

As I understand it, just under 6,000 people making a booking in the first three days, which is great news.

Now, we’re well and truly into the time of year when colds and flus arise, so please stay home if you’re unwell, and if you have any symptoms at all, please get tested.

I do want to just touch on a matter which is important to all Tasmanian AFL fans.

This weekend’s game between North Melbourne and GWS in Blundstone Arena will proceed under strict COVID-safe protocols, as we previously advised.

I can also advise that constructive and positive discussions are being held with the AFL, North Melbourne and Hawthorn in relation to the possibility of games being shifted from Melbourne to Tasmania on the following weekend.

Obviously, in terms of Melbourne at the moment, it’s not clear whether they’ll be able to have crowds on Saturday and Sunday week in Melbourne, and so we’ll work in with the AFL and those clubs at the moment.

The games, if they were to be transferred, would be North Melbourne vs Brisbane on Saturday, the 19th, at Blundstone Arena, and Hawthorne vs Essendon on Sunday, the 20th, at UTAS stadium.

Similar to this weekend’s game, they would need to be conducted in a COVID safe manner, same fly in fly out basis as has previously been approved by Public Health and Deputy State Controller.

Our discussions are ongoing and, obviously, whilst I know that the AFL and Victorians would want to see crowds at the venues, if that’s not possible, then Tasmania stands ready to conduct a doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday week.

I’ll hand over now to the Secretary of Health, Kathryn Morgan-Wicks, to provide more details on the vaccination update.