Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania


Premier, Peter Gutwein

Good morning. I have with me this morning Dr Scott McKeown.

Dr McKeown was on duty over the weekend and can provide some more detail and background, if needed.

I just begin this with an overview of where we are at the moment.

Following the confirmation of the COVID-19 case in Western Australia yesterday and after assessment by the Tasmanian Public Health services, the Perth metropolitan region, Peel region, South West region have been declared high risk areas by the Director of Public Health, Dr McEwan.

Anyone intending to travel to Tasmania who has been in any of these high risk areas in the 14 days prior to arrival will not be permitted to enter Tasmania, unless approved by the Deputy State Controller, and they will be required to quarantine.

We’ll be looking at our exemption process, but the key message is that these areas have been designated high risk, and people will not be permitted to enter.

Tasmanians coming home will still be allowed to, but they will need to quarantine when they arrive here in suitable premises, should they have them.

For the 108 people who arrived at Hobart Airport late yesterday afternoon, each person has been contacted and has been asked to self-isolate, and their will be further contact by Public Health in the day to determine their circumstances and any requirements with further self-isolating and testing, noting that some people may have travelled who haven’t travelled through these regions or haven’t travelled through those premises.

On an individual basis, Public Health will work with them.

Returning Tasmanian residents, as I’ve said, will still be permitted to enter the state and isolate at home, provided they have a suitable premise.

Non-Tasmanian residents who enter the state without approval will be required to go into Government-designated quarantine at their own expense or they may be directed to leave the state.

Travellers currently in Tasmania who’ve been in Western Australia on or since the 25th of January are asked to check the Western Australia risk location list at the coronavirus website.
Anyone who has visited any of the locations listed at these specific dates and times should self-isolate immediately in their accommodation and call the Public Health hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice and management.

The Western Australian risk location list may change as the Public Health response progresses and should be checked regularly by anyone who has recently been in Western Australia.

In total, and I’m sure this will be a question, how many people from Western Australia do we have that have travelled since the 25th?

Including the 108 that came in late yesterday afternoon it’s 789.

They have all been contacted, and Public Health will be working with them in terms of their circumstances.

I will touch on some further details about the Western Australian circumstances in a moment, although I just want to talk briefly on the New Zealand situation.

The Australian Government announced yesterday the resumption of the New Zealand travel bubble due to there being no further cases identified in New Zealand.

Further measures have been applied at the Australian border for 10 days to ensure anyone who is a close contact or casual contact, including any person who attended a risk location in New Zealand, does not enter the country.

Based on information from the New Zealand Ministry of Health, Public Health declared a number of premises to the North of Auckland as high risk premises.

A list of all of the high risk premises can be found via, again, our coronavirus website.

These high risk premises will remain declared until 14 days after their risk period to provide additional measures at the Tasmanian border to prevent travel from the mainland of anyone who attended any of those premises, and anyone who attended a New Zealand high risk premise will not be permitted to travel to Tasmania without prior approval.

That will be obviously picked up through the Tas e-travel application process.

Arrangements for direct flights between Hobart and New Zealand to remain on track however, and we expect that by the end of March the works at the Hobart Airport, in fact around mid-March it’s proposed that the works will be completed on time, and biosecurity arrangements will then be able to be in place.

However, the arrangements will be subject to quarantine requirements, again, at the NZ Government, a point that I’ve made, the challenge will be that on the New Zealand side that, one, they have the risk appropriately managed and, secondly, that for people that want to travel to New Zealand they won’t have to go into 14 days of quarantine, and likewise for New Zealanders travelling this way, that they don’t have to go back into quarantine.

These are matters for the New Zealand Government and we’ll continue to work through those matters.

One other point I’d make is that obviously the circumstance in New South Wales has improved and the state is now classified as low risk from yesterday, meaning that anyone who’s been in New South Wales in the 14 days prior to arrival in Tasmania is not required to quarantine.

This has obviously been a challenging period, and on the weekend, on Saturday, we declared that we were open to the rest of the country.

My understanding is that obviously with the circumstances in WA, that lasted for 21 hours.

Now, it is going to be a situation that we will need to manage as we move forward and, again, I’d make the point that I’m sorry for the disruption, but I make no apologies, as I’m sure no other Premier or State Leader would in terms of ensuring that we manage things and matters to keep our communities safe.

It’s important for Tasmanians to remain vigilant, that they don’t become complacent, that, importantly, that good hygiene, cover your coughs and sneezes.