Tas three-day lockdown to end on time

Asia's Tech News Daily

Hobart and southern Tasmania are exiting a snap lockdown as scheduled, but some extra precautionary COVID-19 restrictions will remain.

© Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS A three-day lockdown in southern Tasmania will end on time, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says.

Premier Peter Gutwein confirmed the three-day lockdown would end at 6pm on Monday after the state reported no new cases from more than 1463 tests.

But masks will remain mandatory until at least 6pm on Friday, along with restrictions for aged care facilities and hospitals.

“We are snapping back to where we were apart from those restrictions,” Mr Gutwein told reporters on Monday.

The “minor” measures will be reviewed later this week.

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.

The island state’s south region was plunged into a 72-hour stint of stay-at-home restrictions on Friday evening after an infected NSW man absconded from the Hobart Travelodge and spent about 18 hours at large.

The 31-year-old, who arrived in Hobart on Monday night without a valid border pass and was ordered into quarantine, has refused to co-operate with contact tracers.

The inability of authorities to establish his exact movements was cited as the main reason for the lockdown.

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 $3000.

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.

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