Those living in Southern Tasmania will go into lockdown for three days from 6pm tonight to avoid an outbreak of the Delta variant after a COVID-positive man who escaped hotel quarantine was not cooperative with contact tracing authorities.
The man who escaped hotel quarantine “has not been cooperative, leading to inconsistency and non-disclosure of information”, according to Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, and was in the community for 18 hours.
So far, 36 people have been labelled close contacts of the man and another 19 casual contacts. As such, 12 local government areas (LGAs) in the state’s south, including Hobart, will go into lockdown until at least 6pm on Monday.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-positive man who absconded from hotel quarantine has not been cooperative, leading to inconsistency and a non-disclosure of information,” Premier Gutwein said.
“Unfortunately, it took two days to verify that he was at the Woolies and we’re growing concerned now that he has in fact several touchpoints within the community.
“We can’t continue to wait another two days to find out more about what’s been going on.”
In addition, a primary close contact of the man breached home quarantine last night. He has since been apprehended, fined and will spend time in a government hotel quarantine facility.
“Prior to reaching our vaccination goals and the readiness to open our borders before Christmas, we simply cannot afford for an outbreak to occur,” Gutwein said.
From 6pm tonight, the following LGAs will enter lockdown for three days:
- Brighton Council
- Central Highlands Council
- Clarence City Council
- Derwent Valley Council
- Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council
- Glenorchy City Council
- Hobart City Council
- Huon Valley Council
- Kingborough Council
- Sorell Council
- Southern Midlands Council
- Tasman Council
There will be only five reasons to leave the house including shopping for essentials, personal exercise, medical appointments (including testing for COVID and getting vaccinated), going to permitted workplaces and going to school if education cannot be undertaken from home.
Those under lockdown will also only be permitted to travel up to 5km from their house for exercise and shopping, and face masks must be worn.
No indoor or outdoor gatherings are permitted, and no more than 10 people can attend a funeral. Weddings can only occur for compassionate reasons and with just five people in attendance.
Cafes, restaurants and hotels can open for takeaway and delivery services only, and personal care businesses like hairdressers and gyms must close.
Construction will also pause for three days except for emergency repairs.
Those affected by the lockdown can apply for the Federal Government COVID disaster payment.
“We might get to Monday evening at 6pm and see no more cases. We may get to Monday evening at 6pm and see many more cases,” Gutwein said.
“One of the things that we do not want to be in this state is either Sydney or Melbourne who acted too late in both instances when dealing with Delta.
“It is important at this point in time, as we cannot be certain about the information that we have, that we ensure that we take every step that we possibly can to ensure that the state doesn't have a Delta outbreak of scale that would impact this community.”
So far there are four exposure sites in Tasmania relating to the man who breached hotel quarantine:
- Jetstar flight JQ715 from Melbourne to Hobart arriving 8:27pm, October 11
- Hobart Airport arrival area male bathroom between 9:10pm and 9:15pm and 9:25pm and 9:30pm, October 11
- Hobart Airport arrival hall including baggage pickup between 8:54pm and 10:07pm, October 11
- Woolworths Bridgewater between 3:30pm and 4:00pm, October 12
Updated at 3.17pm AEDT on 15 October 2021.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support