Tasmania to throw open borders to COVID hotspots December 15



All vaccinated interstate and international arrivals can enter Tasmania without a need for quarantine from December 15, as long as they have returned a negative COVID-19 test, the state government has announced.Key points:Tasmania will open its border to all vaccinated travellers from December 15 without a need for quarantineInterstate and international travellers will need to provide a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their travel, but Tasmanians on short trips will notThe Premier says the border date is firm, regardless of vaccination rate, and “COVID will come to Tasmania”Premier Peter Gutwein has revealed the state’s roadmap for reopening to COVID hotspots and modelling for how the state’s health system will cope with coronavirus cases.When 80 per cent of the Tasmanian population over 16 years is fully vaccinated, interstate and international travellers can enter the state from a high-risk area if they undertake hotel quarantine or qualify for “risk-based” home quarantine.From December 15, with a 90 per cent vaccination rate of those aged over 12, anyone can enter Tasmania without a need for quarantine as long as they are fully vaccinated. Premier Peter Gutwein says Tasmanians should not wait until December 14 to get vaccinated.Interstate and international arrivals will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, but returning Tasmanians will not need a test if they are returning from a trip shorter than seven days.Mr Gutwein said the reopening date of December 15 was a firm one.”We are not going to turn back from that date,” he said.”I’m signalling to every eligible Tasmanian over the age of 12, if you are not vaccinated, get it done, and get it done as soon as you can.”Don’t wait until December 14.”‘COVID will come to Tasmania, make no mistake’Mr Gutwein said he was confident the vaccination targets would be met if people continued to turn up.He said Tasmania’s older and more vulnerable population had influenced the Government’s reopening plan.”We know once our borders are relaxed, COVID will come to Tasmania, make no mistake of that,” Mr Gutwein said.The Premier also said the mandatory face mask rule still in place despite the end of the three-day snap lockdown in southern Tasmania would end immediately.That rule had been scheduled to end at 6pm today, but the Premier said it could end early with no new cases.There are still some circumstances where masks are required, including events like the Royal Hobart Show and Salamanca Market.Visitor restrictions for aged care and hospitals will end at 6pm as planned.Modelling informing reopening planMr Gutwein said modelling from the Kirby Institute was helping inform Tasmania’s reopening plan.”This modelling is Tasmanian-centric, updated for the aged specific population of Tasmania and hospital capacity of our state and specific Tasmanian targets for vaccination,” he said.”While they do not predict the future, they do help inform plans based on different scenarios.”The modelling runs over 200 days and will begin on December 1, and assumes 10 infected cases on day one. The model assumes that during the outbreak, 90 per cent of 12-15-year-olds would be vaccinated by mid-January, but Mr Gutwein said he expected Tasmania would reach 90 per cent among that age group sooner.”We expect less impact than what the modelling shows,” he said.Mr Gutwein said he expected a plan to vaccinate the 5 to 11-year-old age group would be approved in coming weeks.’Let it rip’ unacceptable for Tasmania, Gutwein saysMr Gutwein said if Tasmania opened its border on December 15 under a “let it rip” model — with no social or public health measures in place but a good level of contact tracing — the state would have more than 77,000 cases within 200 days.”That’s an average daily case number of around 387, just south of 400 and at the peak of the modelling we could have around 636 people in hospital and potentially 168 people in the ICU and 214 deaths,” he said”We are not going down that pathway”. Mr Gutwein said if public health measures that were already in place were maintained, with a high level of contact tracing, case numbers and hospitalisations would be significantly lower.”[We would be] looking at a possible daily peak of 242 cases in hospital and less than 70 cases in ICU,” he said.”[And] whilst still high, significantly reduced deaths at 87.”The modelling also considered other scenerios, including increased public health restrictions, such as greater social distancing, more restrictions on density and people’s movements, through to lockdowns.”With each of these step-ups in restrictions it reduced the number of people in hospital, ICU and the mortality rate,” Mr Gutwein said.”It shows we can still use those levers to ensure that we manage and mitigate the impact on our state as we move forward.”Face masks may be neededTasmanians will be required to wear a face mask indoors in situations deemed high risk, and the wearing of masks would be a “safeguard should we require it in certain settings based on public health advice”, Mr Gutwein said.



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