Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

PRESS CONFERENCE - 12 AUGUST 2020

Premier Peter Gutwein

As I’ve said consistently our number one priority as we continue to manage our way through COVID is to keep Tasmanians safe and secure.

Yesterday, I confirmed that we had a positive case.

We confirmed that a man in his 60s had returned from receiving medical treatment in Victoria and had tested positive here in Tasmania.

The man was tested in Melbourne and had returned a negative test, was then medically transported between the two state hospital facilities with infectious management and protocols followed.

I’m advised that the man who is under appropriate care at the North West Regional Hospital is in a stable condition and I wish him well for his recovery.

I do want to acknowledge the staff at the North West Regional Hospital and those involved in medical transport for following the necessary protocols.

Even with the patient having tested negative prior to transport, it shows how important it is to follow the health and safety processes in place regardless.

Dr Veitch will speak more about this, but I understand two health workers at North West Regional Hospital, who were wearing full PPE, will furlough just out of an abundance of caution.

I fully support this proactive approach to ensure the safety and wellbeing of healthcare staff and patients.

I want to just say to all Tasmanians and especially, you know, when you consider what has occurred in New Zealand overnight in terms of the lockdown in Auckland, we are in a good position in Tasmania, but we don’t need to look too far away to see how quickly things can turn, how quickly the situation can escalate.

We must continue to follow the health advice, we must continue to be responsible, follow the rules and we must ensure we don’t let down our guard.

With more than 400 cases in Victoria today and 21 deaths, my thoughts are with our friends and family that are across the Strait there in Victoria. They are, as I said, in the fight of their lives at the moment.

Until a vaccine is found, nowhere is immune.

We have to be sensible and responsible in our management of the virus and our phased recovery process.

The last thing that I want to see is businesses in Tasmania back in lockdown and so, our commitment is that we will continue our vigilant approach to managing the situation closely, and I encourage all Tasmanians to continue to work together, to follow the rules, to do the right things, so that we can manage the virus in this state effectively, as we are at the moment but, importantly, so that we do not run the risk of facing what other states and other countries are now facing.

For Tasmanians this means maintaining good hygiene practices.

Wash and sanitise your hands regularly, wherever possible stay one and-a-half metres from people and remember the social distancing rules.

If you are unwell, and I want to stress this, if you are unwell, do not go to work, get a test.

We announced last week that we’ll provide support for casual and low-income Tasmanians in terms of supporting them whilst they wait for the result of their test.

It is so important.

You know, when you consider what has occurred in Victoria where too many people went to work unwell when they shouldn’t have done.

We must continue to follow the rules here.

At the moment, our testing is still strong.

Around 730 tests done in the last 24 hours, and now more than 75,000 Tasmanians, in fact closing in on 76,000 Tasmanians, have now had a test. These are good results and we must keep it up.

I want to just touch on the issue of alerting Tasmanians yesterday.

We have been transparent and open in Tasmanians about this, and we will continue to be so.

But I do want to make the point that we will see positive cases over time. We have made that point clear.

Our strong border protocols are doing what they are designed to do.

But for Tasmanians, you know, at the moment, I know that there is a level of anxiety out there in our community, and watching what’s occurring in other jurisdictions, many people are fearful.

You know, our systems are in place. We have strong border control, we have rapid response capability, our tracking and tracing is ready, should we require it.

The most important thing that Tasmanians can do is to continue to follow the rules, take personal responsibility, ensure that you’re following the rules with good hygiene, with social distancing, that they take responsibility for themselves, for their community and, importantly, for all Tasmanians.

I’ll hand over to Dr Veitch to make some comments on the case.