Coronavirus update | Friday 27 August 2021

27 Aug 2021

Premier Peter Gutwein

Hello everyone. I’m joined by Kathryn Morgan-Wicks who will provide you with a COVID update on what is obviously a very busy day which will culminate in a presentation shortly at the Country Club in terms of the Budget, but then follow on with National Cabinet at two o'clock.

With firstly, I just wanted to make a couple of opening points.

We have no cases in Tasmania, we must though continue to be vigilant, stay focussed, so we can keep Delta out of the state.

Our 4 Point Delta Shield Plan continues to position us well, strong border controls, strengthened testing, tracking and tracing systems, more support for business, and we’re well placed to weather the COVID climate till such time we reach our vaccination (file jump) more than 63% of Tasmanians having a first dose by the 12th of September, we're well on track for that.

Currently, we are sitting at 57.4% of Tasmanians having had their first dose, and 39% are now fully vaccinated, and today well pass more than 425,000 doses of the vaccine given and, importantly, we've also passed more than a quarter of a million Tasmanians with at least one dose.

Importantly, over the weekend, the first super clinic will take place at Hobarts Macq 2 centre with the clinic fully booked now, meaning that we’ll vaccinate 2,000 Tasmanians over the two days that it's open, and there'll be a further.., another clinic that will be open on the North West Coast as [file jump]

New South Wales remains high-risk Level 1, you know, having reported significant cases yesterday, over 1,000, and again, just under 1,000 again today.

Victoria and the ACT, high-risk Level 2, as is New Zealand.

I want to just touch on the matter of refugees as well, today, with National Cabinet we'll be discussing the situation in Kabul and Afghanistan later today.

In terms of the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, we have a lot of obviously Tasmanians, Australians, and I think the world is looking on in shock of what's occurring.

We've been speaking with the Federal Government about what assistance Tasmania may be able to provide.

And, obviously, the key thing at the moment is that they want to see when the airport is open and we can evacuate safely and uplift as many refugees as possible.

I've informed Federal Government that we will do our bit.

I spoke this morning with the Leader of the Greens and the Leader of the Opposition and outlined to them that we were working with the Federal Government.

Now, what that could mean is that with other repat flights coming back into the country, one of the options that has been proposed is that we might take a repat flight coming from another country to enable quarantine to be opened up in one of the largest centres on the mainland to take additional refugees.

We're working through that at the moment.

I do want to get Tasmanians ready for it, because if we take Afghan refugees, if we take a repat flight, the chances of there being COVID on either of those flights would be very high.

We have the systems in place and, obviously, we’re currently dealing with seasonal workers, but I think at the moment in terms of what we are watching unfold, it's important that as Tasmanians, as Australians, that we do our bit, and so we'll continue to work with the Federal Government, and we'll provide more information when we can.

The other matter I wanted to raise today as well is in terms of returning Tasmanians looking to get out of New South Wales and Victoria to come back.

Obviously, if you're coming out of Victoria, there is an opportunity to quarantine at home, because that's currently at risk Level 2.

New South Wales is far more problematic, and we know that there are more than a hundred Tasmanians that are looking to return.

At the moment, we're looking to double our hotel quarantine capacity to enable more Tasmanians to come back.

We have around 150 rooms available at this point in time, we'll be looking to double that to 300 or thereabouts, and we'll be bringing on 40 to 50 of those rooms in coming days for the further 100 we would hope over the course of the coming week.

So, we're looking to assist those Tasmanians that have been caught.

I want to touch just quickly on the AFL.

You know, what can I say, Launceston’s got just one out of the box in front of it for this weekend, two AFL finals.

The teams will arrive for the first game later this afternoon and will go into their quarantine hub.

We will do everything that's necessary to ensure that that hub is maintained.

Everybody that travels with the group and the players will have had a COVID test within the last 24 hours and obviously provided a negative COVID test.

Over the course of the weekend, we'll then have a further two teams which will arrive tomorrow.

What will occur then is that the losing teams will exit the state, their seasons finished, the winning teams will stay on with us through the course of at least the early part of next week.

They'll be tested every two days and be maintained in their hub.

And I'm very confident in terms of the protocols that have been put in place between both the venues of the AFL and with the support of our Public Health people and our staff.

Now I must just touch on quickly.., the Budget.

The feedback has been very positive.

I spoke this morning at a sold-out breakfast in Hobart.

The Budget, which I've made a number of very clear points about, has been well received.

One, it will secure Tasmania's future.

Two, importantly, it provides a pathway back to surplus and back to being in the black but, importantly, it also invests record amounts into Health and Education, other essential services and, importantly, it meets all the commitments that we laid out at the recent election.

So, I'm happy to take questions on any of these matters in the moment, I’ll hand over to Kath to provide an update just in terms of vaccinations and then we’ll deal with questions.