We have spent the most part of the last 20 months preparing for COVID-19 to enter Tasmania, and with our borders now reopened, the systems in place at our borders are working.
Yesterday we saw more than 2,000 tests conducted in Tasmania, with 26 cases of COVID-19 being identified.
This brings the total number of cases in Tasmania to 52, with each of these in quarantine and importantly, all reporting very mild symptoms – demonstrating once again that vaccinations work.
With a number of these cases coming from NSW, I welcome the decision by the NSW Premier to reintroduce basic public health measures, such as density limits, checking in at venues, and mask wearing indoors.
These are common sense measures that will slow the spread of COVID-19 in NSW and further reduce the likelihood of positive cases entering Tasmania from that State.
I understand there is a level of anxiety in the community during this transition phase, however, I want to again reassure the community this is not unexpected – It’s part of the plan that we have put in place, that has allowed us to reopen as one of the safest places in the world.
Pleasingly, Tasmania is one of the most vaccinated states in Australia – our first dose rates for those aged 16 and over are at 97.26%, with 92.17% are fully vaccinated.
We are also leading the nation with boosters, with 10% of eligible Tasmanians already having had their booster.
For that very small percentage who are yet to receive their first or second dose, and for those who are due for their booster shots – I encourage you to get the job done.
We will continue to prioritise boosters for those most vulnerable, and have already added another 10,000 appointments to our state-run clinics, with additional clinics being brought online in January to meet increased demand.
Following a meeting of National Cabinet yesterday, AHPPC is now preparing advice of the use of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) for entry to high-risk settings, such as aged care facilities, hospitals and travel purposes.
In anticipation that these will be used, Tasmania has ordered a further 100,000 RAT tests which are expected to arrive in coming days. This is in addition to existing stockpiles, should they be required.
As we approach Christmas, I know that Tasmanians are planning to attend functions, events and catch-up with family and friends. Our safeguards are in place so that Tasmanians can get out and about this Christmas, and visit their loved ones.
All we urge people to do is use common sense: wear your mask indoors, practice good hygiene and use the Check in Tas App. Importantly, if you’re unwell, stay home.