With testing numbers remaining high and no further cases recorded, the lockdown in southern Tasmania will end as planned from 6pm tonight.
This is very positive news and I want to thank all Tasmanians in the south for their efforts to minimise their movements and help us mange the risk of COVID in our community.
As we have seen with Delta outbreaks in other states, you can never go too hard or early, you can only go too late, which is why we took the steps we did and can now say we are on top of this.
We do recognise the need to have additional safeguards in our community at this time which is why masks will be required to be worn until 6pm Friday, with the situation to be reviewed on Friday morning.
This will apply for anyone in the 12 southern Local Government Areas which were included in the lockdown and will still apply if anyone from those areas travels elsewhere in the State.
I know this lockdown has impacted many Tasmanians and Tasmanian businesses financially, and the Government is developing a broader business support package through Business Tasmania targeted at businesses which were directly impacted by the lockdown order.
Business Tasmania is finalising the details of this one-off package based on feedback from businesses over the weekend and we will have more to say about this in coming days.
This will be in addition to the existing support already available, including the Australian Government $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, Pandemic Isolation assistance grants and the recently announced Australian Government Disaster Payment for which pro-rata payments will apply from the normal weekly payments of $750 or $450 for anyone who has lost income as a result of the lockdown.
Importantly, our vaccination strategy remains on track with 83.5 per cent of Tasmanians over 16 having had one dose, and 68.6 per cent now fully vaccinated.
I expect that we will achieve 70 per cent fully vaccinated later this week and we remain on track to achieve 80 per cent fully vaccinated in Melbourne Cup week, in line with our plan.
Continuing this momentum is the key to returning to a more normal way of living and reducing the likelihood of lockdowns into the future, and these numbers are a credit to all Tasmanians who have rolled up their sleeves.
We remain in a great position to reach our 90 per cent target for Tasmanians aged 12 and over, with growing confidence all those eligible have had the opportunity to have a vaccine by early December, ahead of borders being open by Christmas.
Later this week, we will communicate Tasmania’s roadmap to opening borders, which is based on these vaccination rates continuing to head in the right direction.
Once again, I want to thank all Tasmanians for their efforts over the past few days, including our public health staff and emergency workers who have done a fantastic job across the weekend, in very difficult circumstances.