Coronavirus update | Wednesday 11 August 2021

Last Updated: 15 Nov 2021 9:48am

**This automatic transcript is a tool to review recorded content quickly, but should not be read as the official record.**

Peter Gutwein 
Good morning everyone. I'm joined this morning by the Deputy Premier and Minister. Along with that, Dr. Veitch, Donna Adams, the Deputy State Controller, and also Katherine Morgan-Wicks, who are providing an update of where we are and talk about a couple of initiatives that we're going to speak about today. Jeremy will then provide some further detail Dr. Veitch to take any detail questions and then revert back to whoever is most appropriate to answer your questions. So first of all, I could just start by saying that since the start of COVID, our priority has been to keep Tasmanians safe and secure and that remains our number one priority.

The Delta strain has changed things. It seriously impacts the lives of those living in New South Wales but also Victorian Queensland at the moment. Over the past 24 hours here in Tasmania, another 12 163 laboratory tests have been undertaken. And I'm pleased to say that again, there are no positive cases that have emerged from that. This is good news. And as we neared the end of one week since that incursion last week, we are now optimistic that the processes that we've had in place have worked, and obviously we'll continue to test but you know, our optimism increases each day that we won't see a further case arise as a result of that particular matter.

Public Health, will continue to monitor and manage the closed context of the main currently in quarantine over the next seven days in relation to our borders. Queensland today has reported four new cases of COVID-19, all of which are in quarantine, which is promising news and public health authorities noting that they've just made an announcement in terms of canes, or monitor the number of cases today and tomorrow. And we'll provide a further update on Friday in terms of the circumstances around our border restrictions with Queensland on Friday. Importantly, I just make the point that Cairns region continue to be cleared high risk at level to understand home order for anyone who's been in those areas on or since 29. July remains in place the further update in terms of that, albeit that they have lifted the lockdown due to their confidence at the moment. We're waiting on an update from New South Wales, which yesterday reported a record thrashing 56 cases along with three more deaths. As I've said on many occasions, our thoughts are with the people in New South Wales at the moment, they're going through a very difficult time. The impact that the Delta strain is having in that state is tragic, and with no certainty on when that state will return to a more normal way of living. It was concerning yesterday to hear the 350 people are in hospital 60 people requiring ventilation and there have been 89 deaths. I understand the vast majority of those deaths have been. Fortunately, with people that weren't fully vaccinated. Victoria has again today recorded 20 new cases and while authorities in that state appear to have a good understanding where their cases are coming from. In the last five days, there have been 91 cases. Unfortunately, two thirds of those cases more than two thirds have been infectious whilst in the community which is very worrying. What is obvious is that delta has changed everything, Victorian New South Wales, and are combating a new health and economic crisis. vaccination is the key it will save lives. And importantly, it will reduce the risk of you ending up in the hospital and it will reduce the risk of death.

Today I'm going to I'm announcing a four point Delta shield plan that we're going to put into place immediately. It will involve one our borders and strengthening the processes that we have there. Secondly, a vaccine Blitz. Thirdly, we got to strengthen testing, tracking and tracing, and four. There'll be a business support package, which I'll say more about in a moment, and we'll have further detail later in the week. But firstly, in terms of strengthening our borders, restrictions have worked well and they are protected as but as I've said delta is different. We need to learn from the lessons that have unfortunately been played out in other states. We need to continuously review our procedures and strengthen them where appropriate and systems work. But what is evidence, we're seeing more people now starting to flee other states as well, putting pressure on our borders. And also, so I understand putting pressure on other states and territories borders as well.

For those people that arrive at our borders and have previously been rejected and told not to come because they've been in a high risk area, the on the spot fines will increase to 1,557. And from Friday this week, as soon as the paperwork is in place, that will also extend that same level of fine for anyone that breaches quarantine requirements, and so the character on the spot find infringement is $774 at or increased to more than $1,557. infringement so finally the use the chicken tears app will remain at the $774 it in place will start to issue infringement notices where people form the rules whilst going about our community. We've had an educative approach. Businesses have worked with us the communities work with as in the main Tasmanians are doing the right thing, but this is the doing. That is where people blatantly breached those rules. Now New South Wales will continue to be classified as high risk level one for the foreseeable future. The fate of New South Wales i s in the hands of the New South Wales government and the people of New South Wales, but we are going to keep out very strong border arrangements in place.

With regards to Victoria, we plan to remain closed to Victoria for at least the next two weeks, and potentially for up to four weeks, depending on how the situation that stays state plays out. And while our deal to shield plan is implemented. So we will have strong border controls in place in terms of New South Wales, Victoria, and obviously, we will update in terms of Queensland this week, in terms of our borders. And as I've said, on a number of occasions, our laws don't reach to pass our borders. And what we've been working on is ensuring that when people are looking to catch a flight or get on the spirit, or that they're provided with information we're going to increase and notifications at airports. Currently we are in Melbourne and Sydney where we've got staff will be extending that to Brisbane as well. This will also include electronic signage, and additional material that will be handed to people before they get onto a flight or under the Spirit. And I have to say that the Spirit has been doing a great job at this. To this point. Obviously, it is difficult when people are challenging the rules. But the end of the day, our systems are holding up but we want to ensure that we provide as little dislocation to people as possible. We will do everything that we possibly can. But if somebody arrives here, and they have been previously rejected, and they haven't accepted the advice in either Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane or at the spirit, then we will find them. It is as simple as that. And that fine will be as I've said a doubling of the current infringement notice and more than 15 $100 second part of our plan we got to run a super six week vaccine Blitz.

Currently our vaccine program leads the country However, with Delta if we need to do more. And I'd encourage Tasmanians to to do what they can turn up and get vaccinated now as part of our work to further strengthen the state's defenses. The Department of Health will commence as I've said the super six week campaign to boost our vaccination rate well into the mid 60%. By mid September. We'll do this by commencing a program to vaccinate college students 16 to 18 year olds from the 23rd of this month with the timing selected in conjunction with the Department of Education have issued examination rescheduling. We're going to open clinics on extra days and will extend hours in all state community clinics statewide to target our 30 to 59 year olds. Pharmacies will also be brought online more quickly. And we're currently engaged with the Commonwealth and with public health in terms of that, and the deputy premier can say more on that. But we it's important that we ensure that Tasmanians can have an opportunity to be vaccinated, this will be on top in terms of these accidents, we on top of the 70,000 plus bookings in our system. by lifting our vaccination rates in the 30 to 59 age group, we can bring forward vaccination of the 16 to 29 age group and we'll open that in the first weeks of September. To do this will require some sharing of resources right across our health system and the deputy health deputy premier and health minister and secretary of health can talk about that But again, what we want to see whilst we have the protection of our borders? Yeah, the simple message is that what we want to do is to get on and vaccinate as quickly as we can. Knowing that obviously, we need to deal within the constraints of supply.

The third part of our program will be to strengthen our testing, tracking and tracing system in relation to our testing, tracking and tracing of tasks the secretary of health along with public health, with engaging with their in state counterparts to understand the lessons for New South Wales and Victoria to implement any improvements from the experiences of those two jurisdictions in relation to managing the Delta strength. Now, it's good clinical practice as it as it is good clinical practice, obviously, public health are engaged with AHPPC on a daily basis, and we obviously engaged with the clinicians in those states. But there are lessons and I think, New South Wales, unfortunately, are learning in the hard way, we need to ensure that we learn from those challenges that they face, and we're necessary implement what we can here. Already in Tasmania, we have a workforce of up to 200 people available within the state to track and trace should an outbreak occur and we'v e spent significant time and resources ensuring that people are ready and able to do that work. But due to the rapid transmission rates and high effective of the Delta virus, we got to move to where we're going to include contracting additional external surge workforce traces, which will effectively double our workforce should the need arise. Delta is different. I can't stress that enough, as part of this program will also include ensuring their systems nighties, IT support to ensure that our systems can effectively support remote tracking and tracing services engage with an external surge workforce when it needs to, in turn, potently the fourth part of our plan, we know that we're going to need to provide additional business support. I have had some very positive conversations this week. With the federal government. I spoke last night with the federal treasurer. And later this week, I expect that we'll be able to announce a package for those businesses that re ly heavily on Interstate travel from across the eastern seaboard, bearing in mind that in terms of our interstate visitation, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales provide between 70 and 80% of our visitation to the state. And obviously, New South Wales is out for some time, Victoria for at least the next couple of weeks, and Queensland will review on Friday. But there are impacts that are occurring on our businesses.

In terms of the package that we've been discussing. And as I said, I'll have more detail later this week. But it will be for those key sectors impacted by border restrictions being tourism, hospitality, arts and events and those transport services that rely on high visitation rates such as high car and coach tools. The support will be available for those businesses, which have been impacted from late June, which is when New South Wales first put in place, it's locked down. I would hope that applications would be able to open next week, but I'll provide more detail. I would hope that later this week in terms of the shape of that package. Once we finalized our discussions with the Commonwealth. I do want to touch on football. And in terms of this week's game, public health have given significant consideration the game of Advil that is scheduled to be played in Launceston this weekend between Hawthorne and Western Bulldogs, it has been determined that given the improved situation in Launceston the fact that their border with Victoria will remain close and therefore no Victorians can therefore attend the game. The scheduled game this week at new test ad will proceed in a COVID safe manner. Teams are already in COVID bubbles players are tested up to three times a week. And obviously they need to provide a negative test and prior to traveling. They'll fly in and out on the day on charter planes and through the established COVID safe corridor has been used in the past and the teams and the small number of support staff will not have any contact with their community. Masks will be required to be worn at the game and the crowd will be capped at 10,000. So I'll hand over to Jeremy to provide more details in relation to the super six vaccination Blitz. Before I do I want to remind Tasmanians that we are at a very critical point. The experience of the two major states in dealing with this virus provides sobering information in terms of the risk that is present just over our fence just over our moat and it's important that we do what we can here in the state to ensure that we are in the best possible place to ensure that we can protect the health and safety Tasmanians. I again remind Tasmanians, please do the important things. Stay on top of COVID. Follow COVID safe behaviors, check in at premises. Get tested if you're unwell. And importantly, don't wait. Take the opportunity to vaccinate when you can. I'll hand over, Jeremy.

Jeremy Rockliff 
Thank you, premier. And it's great that Tasmanians are continuing to respond to the need to be tested with 3690 presentations of the past three days including 1110 presentation just yesterday. Yesterday we had 1263 tests processed in the laboratories and we already have more than 300 appointments for today that are testing clinics in Launceston and Hobart. There are hundreds of appointments available. So if you need a test, please book one online at or the ring the public health hotline and on 1-800-867-1738. As we remind Tasmanians every day, the best way to safeguard yourself your loved ones range your local community is to get vaccinated. As of last night 353,591 doses have been delivered in Tasmania. This includes more than 180,000 at our state clinics. As of last night, close to 51 and a half percent of eligible Tasmanians over 16 years have received one dose and over 28% fully vaccinated. And this is fantastic news. And I thank Tasmanians for sup porting the push to vaccinate our community. But as the Premier's said many times and as delta has shown us, we need to do more. And that is why we're announcing today a super six week campaign to boost our rate of vaccination well into the 60% range and to help push reaching our 70% and 80% targets more quickly.

The super six program will be part of an intense period of work for our Department of Health Department and COVID-19 response to further strengthen Tasmania's capacity to respond to the Delta variant and the risk of outbreaks that unfortunately, we are witnessing in the mainland. The vaccination uplift will involve from Monday the 23rd of August, a campaign to vaccinate our college students 16 to 18 year olds. This date has been selected through our work with the Department of Education as the best date to suit the timing of end of the year examinations, and assessment. We will also extend the days of operation and hours of operation of all our State community clinics statewide and will run clinics dedicated to lifting the vaccination of our 30 to 59 year olds, this target age group and particularly the 30 to 39 year olds have been shown by recent modeling to be a key factor in the ease of transmission of the Delta variant and that is why we're going to do a very big push to get this age range vaccinated. This uplift is on top of the 70,000 plus bookings that we already have in our system. And we will continue Of course our priority aged care disability care and priority workers or those with underlying medical conditions. But to strengthen Tasmania's reinforcements for delta, we need to take this vaccination step.

We'll provide further information on super six campaign later this week, as the premier said as we finalized our logistics and the resourcing next Monday, the first stage of our community pharmacies will offer those one and two AstraZeneca to the over 60s to help fill the gap for that age group and the fact that the state clinics have moved to Pfizer for dose one. We continue to work with the Commonwealth to bring on more community pharmacies and we'll look at the expansion of their age range and vaccine types as the rollout progresses. The Tasmanian guidelines reflect the fact that AstraZeneca is the only vaccine available from the Commonwealth to community pharmacies. The TGA advice for states like Tasmania, where there is no widespread community transmission is that AstraZeneca is the preferred vaccine for the over 60 age group. And that is what the guidelines reflect from discussions with the Commonwealth that it is our understanding that when Madonna is available for distribution, this will also become available for pharmacies. However this is my most likely to occur in October. The postcodes chosen for the first two tranches give priority to pharmacies that are in the areas where the take up by over 60s is lower. This group includes vulnerable Tasmanians and this reflects them being able to be prioritized rather than turn on a pharmacy in an area where for instance, take up as well over 90% as a rollout progresses, we will continue to work with pharmacies, with additional pharmacies being added as more postcodes are opened up. And as supply becomes available, the opening up of the first pharmacies is something to be celebrated. And thank you for all those that have put their hand and eventually all of the pharmacies that are approved immunizes can and of course will be involved, won't leave me vaccinated is a personal choice, I can only absolutely urge those that are yet to be vaccinated or remain hesitant. Please have a chat with your GP. T here are bookings right across the state. So please, put now don't wait, vaccinate. And I want to reinforce the messages that the premier has highlighted around the seriousness of the Delta variant, which is why we're taking these key steps. I also wanted to add just a thank you to Tasmanians of testing, recognizing their symptoms are getting tested, vaccinate vaccinating themselves. It's tremendous effort. We are leading the country. And we want to obviously, continue that as we continue the super six push. But I also want to thank very much all the people involved with the vaccination effort and the testing clinics, right across the public service, police and emergency services, health department and of course, those working very hard now department of communities, those staff and quarantine hotels are doing just such a tremendous job. And as a minister responsible for a number one, a number of portfolios. I'm immensely proud of the work that our public service are doing under very challenging circumstances. Thank you. I'll now hand over to Dr. Veitch.

Mark Veitch 21:58
Thank you, premier, minister, and good morning. I'll just make a few comments and then be happy to take some questions. I'd certainly like to reiterate what both the premier and the deputy premier and health minister have said about the absolute importance of going out and getting vaccinated. We've seen what's occurring in New South Wales, we've seen deaths reported every day. And we've also noted that the majority of the people who have died have been unvaccinated.

That is very powerful evidence that if you get vaccinated, you're much less likely to die of COVID, much less likely to end up in hospital. New South Wales is experiencing those awful outcomes in numbers because of the widespread spread of the adult Australian in their community. So it's really emphasizing to us how quickly this gets around how much harm it causes, and how we must take every opportunity to get vaccinated whether we're going to a general practitioner, whether we're going to a state run clinic, or increasingly over the coming weeks going to a pharmacy and getting the vaccine that's going to prevent the worst that can possibly happen to you. So the New South Wales situation is obviously grave. And that's a principal driver behind some of the measures that the premier has mentioned was also of course, the reason why we had a person in Tasmania last week with Coronavirus that are infected, you know high resetting or high risk area in New South Wales.

Our contact tracing team leapt into action when that occurred late last week, and the contact tracing process has gone. Gone. Well. We know that we have I think I forget the numbers from yesterday. But I think we total it around about 180 primary and secondary contact Maple 160 something primary and secondary contacts associated with that person's movements into Tasmania and out of Tasmania. And we're now coming up to the time when the first of those people in quarantine will have been done 10 days in quarantine, and due to for their exit testing. So what will be occurring from tomorrow and through the weekend is tests that are done towards the end of quarantine of those people who were in quarantine because they were deemed contacts of some sort of the gentleman who was was infected. So I think it will provide Tasmania with considerable reassurance. As we see those tests come back negative over the coming days. Many of those people have already had an early test in quarantine and of the negative but the critical one is the one that occurs towards the end of their time. One or two people who've been subject to quarantine as a result of being in contact have recorded symptoms. They've gone and got tested and they've come back negative. So it's all good news so far, but we are certainly looking forward to the middle of next by which time most of those people will have completed their testing and quarantine. And that's when we'll be able to say we're past this.

I also want to acknowledge the Premier's comments about boosting and reviewing our public health response capacity. That's something we always do along the way. And we take lessons not only from states such as Victoria and New South Wales, that have had huge burdens of contact tracing to do. But we're also in discussions with colleagues in smaller states that have smaller capacities to respond states like the Northern Territory and South Australia. So we understand how states that are more analogous to our sort of situation or workforce are responding. And they've been a number of reports produced by a number of agencies. And we do look at these reports. And now really, as we look to having a response capacity that's in place for a year or two, not just the relatively short, and it's a great time to be discussing what the best quality of public health response is, and people are doing that all across Australia. The report from last week was very import ant stimulus to all of us to look at our capacity to do that.

So I'll just briefly touch on the jurisdictions and their circumstances. New South Wales, I've not heard the numbers from today. But we heard yesterday that with 350 or so cases, there are weeks or months away from getting out of the awful circumstances. So as the premier said, there's no foreseeable change to our border arrangements with New South Wales. Victoria has been seeing between 10 and 20 cases per day, principally in western Melbourne, but quite extensively across western Melbourne with quite a number of exposure sites, and a number of people who have been in the community while infectious, that number is dropping. But I think we need to take a very cautious approach to the process with that nearest neighbour. And that's why I've recommended that we don't consider a significant change to the border arrangements with Victoria for at least two weeks.

Queensland is looking more favourable. They have two clusters, both of which appear to be contained, one in Far North Queensland around Cairns, where we'll have heard that the state home order was dropped today. And also they'd be managing a cluster in southeast Queensland 11 local government areas around Brisbane. We will again take a cautious approach to that. And we will review the border circumstances based on the epidemiology of cases over the next two or three days before providing further advice on on movements to and from Queensland.

same issue, what's the reasoning behind keeping the stay at home order in place for people who've already travelled to Tasmania from there, when we're no longer having the border closer to that area,

Mark Veitch
we still have a border closure to Cairns people can't come into Tasmania from Cairns for the time being, without being required to have an exception to come in from the deputy State Controller and from and then go into a home quarantine or a suitable premises. So we will we can look a bit separately because the people coming in into the state represent risks that might happen in the future, that people are already here or people who reflect the risk that has been that occurred when they were back in kittens. So we look at them both slightly in a slightly different timeframe. But we need to try and keep this neat that we don't want to keep restrictions in place longer than is necessary. But we also need to be sure that the messages we communicate to the public errors simple and straightforward as possible. So we'll deal with those both in these. We'll think about them separately, but will can communicate about them together

Can you talk through the decision regarding vaccination of college students.

Mark Veitch
The decision to vaccinate college students arises from national recommendations that there are a significant group in terms of transmission, particularly amongst their own age group. And they're they're really the the age group where there's a beginning to be an increasing risk of contribute. I'll just want people between the ages of the late teens and the around about 40 are a very mobile group in the population. So there are people that we know from the experience of other jurisdictions contribute disproportionately to the spread of disease. So you'll have heard that a week or so back we announced that people over the age of 30 will be being targeted for vaccination as a Tasmanian initiative. And this is really the other end of that age group. And obviously being in, in colleges, they're an accessible age group. And there's an established way of reaching out to themselves that they do need to have access to vaccine. If we do it now it gets a bit before they're under the pump with exams at the end of the year,

Reporter 30:19
So that leaves the 19 to 29 year olds in the kind of gray area, though, when we prioritize

Mark Veitch 30:26
Well, that's clearly the gap that we will need to prioritize when we've got the vaccination, enough vaccines to be confident that we can open up bookings to that group. And how do you rate the level of risk at football match? Do you think it's pretty watertight? Look, I wouldn't have provided support for a football match occurring if I thought there was a risk to Tasmanians. We put some limits on it. So we limit the number of people who are going to the match to 10,000 people were restricted to people who are in in seats, and 10,000 people is less than the seated capacity. So it provides a bit of an opportunity for room. We're also asking people to wear masks or requiring people to wear masks, and to practice all their COVID safe behaviours, including checking in we get when they get there. I think that's a good suite of mitigations. Nothing is risk free. And if we were unfortunate enough to have a case of Coronavirus, for example, diagnosed between now a nd then in the northern Tasmania community, I would be afraid that Foots Cray and Hawthorne will be playing somewhere else in all probability. But let's hope that doesn't happen. I think it's I think it's the risk is pretty well mitigated.

Reporter 31:42
I want to Double check the college students that's not just eligible college students, or college students,

Mark Veitch 31:48
I might just ask the Secretary to provide the details. But I was happy to provide the rationale. But the implementation is really complex. And there's a great group of people who are doing the implementation of all this stuff.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 32:08
Thanks, Mark. So just to explain in terms of the rationale for the groups of people that we have chosen for the super six vaccination campaign campaign, I should say. So the Doherty modelling that we've received in recent weeks have certainly called out the 30 to 39. age group has probably the highest priority. And that is why a couple of Fridays ago, we introduced the early introduction of the 30 to 39. So the Tasmanian vaccination rollout, the super six campaign is going to focus not just on the 30 to 39. So it is also going to go up to our 59. So 30 to 59 years. And that is really, we are watching the percentage of vaccination rates for those age groups. And I would really like to see, particularly for our 40 to 49, or 50, to 50 nines, those rates to really increase. So we're probably sitting in, you know, the 40s, or 50% of percent for those groups for first dice vaccination, and we really need to lift those up. So I would, this campaign is going to focus on pushing towards that 30 to 59 group to put in extra bookings, we will run and provide further information at the end of the week on those specialist clinics that will really be focusing on that age group, now around the college end of the spectrum. So our 16 to 18 year olds, we have been working over the last few weeks with the Department of Education to examine the right time in the year to actually bring on our college population. So in terms of examination, or assessment, and really trying to pick, it's difficult to always get the best time but the advice that from the 23rd of August, if we commence that campaign, and we'll be doing that, with the assistance, also of our school nurses who are in our schools who know their student populations. And we'll also be providing department of health support, and also the logistical support to actually get those vaccines out to the college students.

Reporter 34:16
Do we have enough vaccines? Or do we have enough all the way to actually vaccinate all people in those age ranges in Tasmania in that period.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 34:24
So in this period, we will have enough vaccine to do a really big lift. So to get us into the 60 percentiles, in terms of our over 16 age group. And we are currently talking to the Commonwealth and we'll examine the potential whether we do need to bring forward any vaccine but on the advice that I've seen this morning. And I've got teams that are going through all of the numbers and now readjusting to get these super six campaign as part of our delta strengthening effort. So it's absolutely critical that we take this time particularly while we do have These border arrangements and with both New South Wales and Victoria to really focus on on vaccinating. So we do have the stock, I'm confident that we have the supply. And we also have a very good relationship with the Commonwealth team in terms of actually pulling forward supply if we need to have that conversation.

Reporter 35:17
Is that the target? And the target? Let's see.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 35:22
Yes. So we are attempting to target lifting into the 60s. And I wouldn't just call it 60. We'll try to push as far as possible into it by mid September. And that means that we've previously talked about targets for both are 70% and 80%. And we're currently reworking our numbers on that, but trying to bring those forward as quickly as we can.

Reporter 35:44
And what do you say to somebody who says are the vaccine doses look would be better used in New South Wales?

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 35:51
So and certainly in terms of the national rollout, it has always been the basis that we have had a per capita distribution of vaccine from a Tasmanian perspective. And we've had you know, we've moved from the very beginning where we had 1,160 doses in a week. And we got those 1,160 doses out every single week, we have attempted to use every little bit of vaccine that comes into Tasmania and we've had a very low wastage rate. So we're, we're not sitting on piles of vaccine that we could potentially reduce redistribute. We also have a very vulnerable population in Tasmania. We've had we've seen what has occurred last Thursday with the Delta case that we had reported in quarantine. And it really does reinforce for, for everyone in Tasmania, just the critical importance to vaccinate, we will do our absolute best to keep our borders as strong as possible to have our health system prepared, we are going to strengthen it again, our tracing component in our testing component, learning the lessons of what we are seeing on the mainland. But we absolutely do need to use every vaccine that we get in Tasmania and get them into Tasmanian arms

Reporter 36:59
just in relation to the pharmacies, initial ones coming online. What has been the reason that pharmacies in those particular locations have been chosen to be the first to be dispensing the vaccine.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 37:09
So we have had targeted particular geographic regions where we have concerns probably about the over 16 take up rate being lower than what we are seeing in other geographic regions. So for example, we have selected in these first post postcodes, we are then going to cover some 50% of the postcodes that had that lower penetration in over 60s. If we had just opened up to random geographic areas, we may be turning on pharmacies, for example that we've already achieved and over 90% vaccination, right, so we are trying to equalize across Tasmania and make sure that those areas that perhaps haven't had as great an opportunity, potentially located further away from a state vaccination clinic or may not have as many, you know, participating GPS involved. So that's why we geographically targeted and and look, we will really celebrate community pharmacies coming on board on Monday and we are committed to working with the pharmacies to make sure that we can roll them out as quick y as we can.

Reporter 38:12
On the pharmacies online. Is there a timeline that you know how many you're hoping to bring in,

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 38:18
so we have 11. That will be starting up on Monday, we've got a further 14 or 15. That will be joining in the week, coming after that. And as part of our super six campaign, we will examine the remaining pharmacists that are already authorized and approved and select those geographic areas we can turn them on. We also need to match it to the supply vaccine that's coming into the state. So the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is what is approved from the Commonwealth to be supplied to pharmacies,

Reporter 38:46
next month mandate for aged care workers. As I said, first dose of vaccination comes into effect. I know this is a common word come out of it. Do you have any latest up to date figures around vaccination rates for aged care workers in Tasmania?

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks 39:01
So we probably talked about various vaccination rates and anywhere from what is reported by the self reporting tool that is managed by the Commonwealth. I've seen anywhere from 30 to up to 50% range. We've done our own work that indicates that we think it's closer to the 70% approaching 80% in some areas. But what we are doing over the next four weeks is that we have scheduled and worked with the Commonwealth to have in each in every single residential aged care facility in Tasmania, so they will all receive a visit. There will be that opportunity for any lost staff members that are not vaccinated to be offered a vaccination and will also pick up new residents that may not have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Got one question.

Reporter 39:52
We just heard from the premier that we've had an education process with people around checking in using the app and so on when they go to places way that is mandatory, how never get fines if they don't do it? How are you going to police that?

Donna Adams 40:07
Tasmania Police has taken educative approach with the Check in TAS app, we've seen high levels of compliance. And that's really pleasing to see that the community are actually heeding the message and the importance of actually using the app. What we also have is we've had members of the public who have actually reported breaches of people not using the app. And again, we've taken that educative approach so people understand the importance, it's now really important that people understand that this is a critical tool for our contact tracing. And Tasmanian police will play a role where it's required we'll support the Department of Health in issuing infringements, for those that are failing to comply.

Reporter 40:50
Practically, how are you going to do that is at least doing sort of frozen shopping centre or, you know, people supplying evidence of people not particularly in how I'm just curious, how is that actually going to be?

Donna Adams 41:06
At the moment. WorkSafe Tasmania will work with Tasmania, police and other key stakeholders to actually visit businesses to ensure that businesses understand the importance and the key role that they play. That's the first approach that we will take. I think it's again, important that Tasmanians get the opportunity to understand that this is an important part of our defence in terms of protecting us from the COVID any COVID-19 outbreak. So that will be the first strategy in the enforcement pathway

Reporter 41:40
in terms of the type of border measures or more police resources being put towards policing that

Donna Adams 41:46
we've had police working with biosecurity and airport security for over a year now. We've certainly ensured that we've got, you know, a strong police presence at the borders, it's important. border control is really one of the first first lines of defence for us in terms of protecting Tasmania against any outbreak, and will continue to conduct a high visibility presence at the airports and at the Spirit of Tasmania.

Reporter 42:16
Premier Can you explain it a bit more detail what the support package for tourism and hospitality businesses respected by border closures overpriced?

Peter Gutwein 42:29
Well, I knew you'd ask that question. And we're currently working through that negotiating with the federal government. But obviously, there will be businesses that have been impacted as a result of the lack of Interstate visitation. Some businesses more than others, I think, as I walk through this city, or Launceston and there are restaurants and hotels that are doing very well, there are others that have been impacted because they their market is broadly speaking Interstate, the package will be by application, the rules and the amount of funding will be provided Diane would hope later this week

Reporter 43:06
is a last year more disaster, late payments as a deployment

Peter Gutwein 43:09
will be more likely in disaster relief payments. It'll be targeted to add grants to businesses that are impacted, and obviously will, there'll be measures in place in terms of those businesses that have a number of staff and those businesses that may be sole traders hope that those rooms will provide more detail later this week,

Reporter 43:29
and is it likely to be a 50% contribution from a Commonwealth 50%. from the state, as we've seen in other packages recently in other states,

Peter Gutwein 43:38
have been working very closely with the Commonwealth at the moment. And I'm confident that we'll have a package that will see each of is meeting the necessary obligations. But I'll have more to say later in the week than that. But as I've said it's been a positive, constructive discussion with the Commonwealth. They are cognizant of the fact that these big states shutting down, had second order flow on impacts. And the discussion that I had last night with the federal Treasurer was very positive. But we'll have more to say later this week

Look in terms of the budget term, every year we have flexibility built into the budget. This package might appear in the budget. But as I've said on a couple of weeks ago in this room, in terms of COVID response. We build in sufficient flexibility into this year's budget to ensure that both in terms of health response, but also in terms of those other responses that we might need to make that there is flexibility available for

Reporter 44:36
and you don't have the dollar figure for the package yet like 10s of millions or something.

Peter Gutwein 44:40
Look, it will certainly be 10s of millions.

Reporter 44:44
Twiggy Forrest has raised concerns about the absence of nature of environmental animal. Hospital welfare concerns in the JBS bid for Huon Aquaculture. Would you rather see the company remain in Australian hands or you'd still think that JPS is a good fit up.

Peter Gutwein 44:59
I said the other day, we live in a global community. Let's be clear. And at the end of the day, you know, as Premier, obviously, I would prefer Tasmanians to continue to own this business. I made that perfectly clear the other day, but we live in a global community. I haven't seen the the detail of what Mr. Forrest might have put forward. But this is ultimately a matter for the shareholders of Huon

Reporter 45:24
for the Foreign Investment Review Board with the state be likely to make a submission to that process.

Peter Gutwein 45:29
Look, whenever there's a review by a FIRB, we always make a submission.

Reporter 45:34
Mr. Forrest has called for any takeover by JBS to be contingent on them agreeing to uphold higher animal welfare and environmental standards. Is that something that would support? Well,

Peter Gutwein 45:44
again, look, I haven't seen what Mr. Forrest said. But I've made the point. On a number of occasions. We have increased regulation, we have separated and made it independent of government and we have a highly regulated sector at the moment. And I would expect any purchaser of you and aquaculture, in fact, any business in the space that they would abide by the law, and those laws are very strict.