Southern Tasmania exits COVID-19 lockdown, but some rules remain

The island state's south exited lockdown at 6pm on Monday, though restrictions around mask-wearing and aged care and hospital settings will remain until Friday.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein speaking to the media

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein speaking to the media Source: AAP

Southern Tasmania, including the state's capital Hobart, exited its COVID-19 lockdown as planned at 6pm tonight.

The island state's south was sent into a three-day lockdown on Friday evening after an infected New South Wales man left hotel quarantine and spent about 18 hours in the community. 

Contact tracers and testers have since been working to identify primary contacts of the man, who authorities said had refused to cooperate. 

Southern Tasmania to exit COVID-19 lockdown tonight

Speaking to media on Monday morning, Premier Peter Gutwein said the state is "on top of this" and confirmed lockdown would end as planned later in the day.

He said some additional restrictions would remain in place until 6pm on Friday, including mask-wearing and restrictions for aged care and hospital settings. 

"We are snapping back to where we were apart from those restrictions," the Premier said.

While acknowledging the inconvenience, Mr Gutwein said the state needed to keep the rules in place for a little longer.

"There are others that have been wearing masks in this country for 12 months," he said. "I'm sure that in the same way that we have stood up and dealt with the virus in the past 24 months we can deal with this as well."

The premier hopes the lockdown will be the state's last before reopening to COVID-hit mainland states once it hits higher vaccination coverage.

Asked to reflect on whether the shutdown was necessary, Tasmania's Public Health Director Mark Veitch said it was a "paradox".

"We were moving and mixing like it was 1999 ... we had to put measures in place that prevented the risk of transmission," he said.

He believes the worst of the risk has passed.

The infected New South Welshman, who flew into Hobart via Melbourne, has been fined $3,000.

Mr Gutwein has previously said he wanted police to "throw the book" at him and the penalty did not fit the crime.

Police will review the circumstances of the case once the public health response finishes.

With AAP.

Published 18 October 2021 at 11:10am, updated 18 October 2021 at 9:41pm
Source: SBS News