Minister for Health, Sarah Courtney
I’m here today with Dr Veitch to be able to provide an update on the situation with regards to coronavirus.
I know particularly greater Brisbane is of particular interest with regards to announcements that are to be made today.
Firstly, I’d like to recognise the efforts people have gone to, both here in Tasmania as well as Queensland to swiftly isolate.
It has been appreciated.
It has allowed Public Health officials to the ability to actually contact trace efficiently and get on top of this COVID.
It’s good news that today Queensland has again not had any positive cases for a third day in a row with high testing levels sustained, which is very positive.
There are some three hundred close contacts that have been identified of this case which we know is a more virulent strain of the COVID, the UK strain.
We’re advised that around two thirds of those close contacts that have been identified have tested negative, and we’re expecting the remaining results of those soon.
We’re also advised that those people in Tasmania who arrived prior to Friday the 8th at 9am and who are currently self-isolating do not pose a risk.
This is because they have not been identified as a close or casual contact of the case.
As a result, those people who have self-isolated and were here prior to 9am last Friday can now resume their normal activities.
I thank them for their care, their caution and their patience, and as with all people in Tasmania, I ask them to remain vigilant with regards to their symptoms.
For those who arrived in Tasmania after 9am on the 8th of January, Public Health has recommended quarantine arrangements remain in place with a review in 48 hours, so we can determine the appropriate risk level then, and we’ll have more to say at that point.
This means those people that are in hotel quarantine or an improved suitable premises who have arrived from the greater Brisbane area and arrived here after 9am on Friday the 8th of January must remain there in their quarantine until Public Health advises that they are comfortable to ease the risk level.
So, high risk means it’s anyone travelling into Tasmania who has spent time in the greater Brisbane region since the 2nd of January, specifically the areas of Logan, Redlands, Morton and Ipswich, as well as Brisbane, will be required to hotel quarantine.
This will be in a Government-designated hotel, and it will be at your own expense.
We also recognise the decision was made last Friday was made very swiftly, and for those that have come into our state before that date or have come into the state within the 24 hour after 9am, this was a swift decision, and so you will not need to pay your quarantine costs, the State Govt will cover the cost of your hotel quarantine.
While things at this stage are looking promising in Queensland, we’ll continue to take Public Health advice and monitor this situation carefully.
What we have seen in Queensland does remind us all how quickly things can change with regards to coronavirus, and also just how important it is that we all remain absolutely vigilant at all times.
Please make sure that you’re observing the restrictions that are in place, make sure that you’re doing the things that we’ve been talking about now for many months; wash your hands regularly, cover your cough and stay at home if you are unwell and, please, make sure that if you have any symptoms at all, no matter how mild, get a test.
I’ll now ask Dr Veitch to be able to provide an update, and then we’ll move to questions.