IN FULL: NSW traveller tests positive for COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Tasmania | ABC News

IN FULL: NSW traveller tests positive for COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Tasmania | ABC News

good afternoon i’ve got uh dr veatch with me and catherine morgan wicks as i’ve said on many occasions our priority is to keep on top of cover to keep our community safe and to keep our community secure that’s why we’ve taken action we’ve moved swiftly in the past and we will do so into the future given outbreaks occurring in other jurisdictions i’ve been very clear that we have needed to prepare ourselves for a positive case in tasmania and that it was a matter of when not if today i can confirm that we have had a positive case uh this morning confirmed in tasmania the first for more than 12 months it’s a 31 year old man who traveled from new south wales to tasmania has tested positive i want to be clear this is not a case of community transmission this is a case that has been picked up in quarantine now the details are as follows and obviously dr vits will provide more in a moment but the man flew from new south wales uh to victoria before he boarded a flight on monday the 2nd of august in victoria to travel to launceston uh he arrived without having an endorsed pass so he arrived here from victoria um without having the endorsed path pass as a result upon arrival he was directed to hotel quarantine in launceston and was tested on the 3rd of august between being tested and receiving his result the man departed tasmania directly from hotel quarantine and returned to new south wales on the 4th of august which is where he is now under the current directions that are in place people are able to leave quarantine for the purposes only of leaving the state as we’ve said on many occasions now again i do want to make the point um that this is not a case of community transmission this is one that has been picked up in quarantine now contact tracers have immediately started tracking and tracing he traveled through what is an understood corridor uh from arrival to departure and obviously this includes the the flight from melbourne and i just want to mention that at the moment um that flight uh from melbourne to launceston which departed melbourne on the second of august at 10 40 a.m and arrived at 11 40 a.m was virgin flight 1364 and anyone that traveled on that flight on that day should immediately self-isolate and wait for public health to contact them i’m certain that many will take the opportunity to call the public health line and obviously we’ll provide directions to them there as well but the message at this point is to self-isolate if you’re on that flight and public health will work their way through the manifest and being touched uh importantly for anybody that’s came into contact with the man on that well understood corridor will be asked to isolate and we will test as quickly as we can and dr vic will provide more details on that at this stage uh we don’t have confirmation that this is delta but on the basis that the man had uh traveled from new south wales there is a high expectation that it would be and so obviously we need to take some steps moving forward firstly we’re not going to be asking anyone in northern tasmania to close their business or lock down at this stage as i’ve said it’s a case in quarantine with a well understood corridor and we will work through that and do our contact um tracking and tracing uh but obviously we expect to see that a surge in testing uh certainly tomorrow and i’d expect on saturday as well as people um uh those that uh are obviously you know may have had contact uh as part of the corridor but i think uh when this sort of thing happens we will see a lot of people that um that might want to be uh tested as well and so with that surge and the extra activity that we’ll see over the weekend uh unfortunately um we’ve made the decision this morning that the football match uh scheduled between collingwood and hawthorne on sunday will not go ahead i’ve just reached out to the afl i haven’t spoken to gill mclaughlin as yet but my office is in touch with his at the moment that will not proceed uh importantly more than ever right now tasmanians need to ensure that they follow the covert safe measures that we’ve had in place cover your coughs and sneezes wash your hands and sanitise them regularly remember appropriate social distancing use the check in tas app at venues and importantly stay home if you’re unwell and importantly if you feel unwell get a test now further advice will be provided later today in regards to both the victorian emerging situation uh in terms of the number of cases that they have there and obviously one of the considerations that we’re working through at the moment is whether or not we close our border to victoria uh today um in light of the circumstance that’s starting to evolve there but further advice will be provided later today as well as any other public health measures that are determined as necessary as we work our way through the contact tracking and tracing but again i want to reassure tasmanians again this is not a case of community transmission it’s a case that has been identified and picked up from quarantine our border system worked the man arrived here without a pass was placed into a hotel quarantine but obviously that corridor needs to be the touch points on that corridor need to be fully understood and worked through with our contact traces and dr beech will provide more detail but that day or another day so if you’re on va 808 on monday the second i’m asking you to immediately isolate and public health will call you in the in the coming hours as soon as we get the manifest with contact details for the flight the person then traveled on the flight va 1364 which left melbourne at 10 40 on monday the second and arrived here at 11 45 so if you’re in tasmania now probably in the north of the state but you could be anywhere and we’re on va 1364 please isolate at home or your accommodation and wait for a call from public health we know the person when they arrived in launceston was escorted around the launceston airport to transport to peppa’s hotel so we don’t believe that there was a risk to the public who might have been at launceston airport when they arrived around the middle of the day on monday we are aware of the transport they took from the airport to peppers we know the the driver and the i think one other passenger and we’ll be in contact with them and like most people who we believe may have been in that close proximity to the case we’ll be having those people in quarantine and testing them the person then spent two nights in quarantine at peppa’s hotel where they have appropriate infection control strategies but we are going to be particularly cautious we’re going to make sure we identify anybody who has worked at the hotel guests who are at the hotel at the same time in quarantine and anyone who was there at the time and who subsequently left we will be getting in touch with all of those people assessing whether they are at risk and whether they need quarantine or testing we also know how this person departed they left in a taxi in the back seat wearing a mask and we are uh tracking down the the taxi to get in touch with the driver and will be requiring them to be uh quarantined and tested we understand their movement out of tasmania was quite swift but through the check-in baggage handling process and we think there’s probably minimal risk of exposure to people at the airport then however we are putting out an alert to anyone who was at launceston airport wednesday yesterday the 4th of august between 9am and 10am to please self-isolate and contact the public health hotline so currently as we speak there’s a lot of activity occurring with within the public health emergency operations centre uh identifying all these people who may be at risk of being in the circle close to this gentleman while he may be infectious and it’s our expectation that by getting those people into quarantine uh and arranging testing for them uh i hope certainly we don’t pick up anyone who’s been infected by this person but if we do uh it will occur when they’ve been contacted and have been in quarantine and so they can pose no further risk to the tasmanian community on the other hand i think this is a warning and as we’ve said many times it’s always possible we’re going to have a case in tasmania so anybody anywhere in tasmania with any symptoms of cold and flu please go and get a test how is it possible for somebody to get on a plane to tasmania at the moment without having a clearance to travel from the app i can’t comment on the details people can people can get on planes in another state and just travel there’s no barrier at sydney airport or melbourne airport for them coming here the process of them um getting approvals is run by the deputy state controller and diploid so i can’t really comment on it however i do make the point that when this person appeared at launceston airport without clearance to come to tasmania they were managed entirely appropriately they were identified as someone who needed to be managed as if they posed a risk they were taken safely around the airport and transported into quarantine how many people have likely been exposed to this arriving passenger do we think i don’t know the numbers david i i think you know there are um they will add up because there are people in a range of settings but as i’ve said in almost all of those settings if not all of them people have measures in place mask wearing infection control social distancing that have been in place for many months to make that movement of people as safe as possible through that those sort of corridors and so that it doesn’t expose a risk to the public uh or to the workers but when this happens in tasmania we just don’t want to take any chances of public health to what extent are you concerned that someone can get on a plane without a pass to enter the state where that flight is going to and that seems crazy really what’s your view of that as direct republican [Music] people should not travel to tasmania without a approved pass it is i have to point out the responsibility that they are breaking a law under the emergency management act uh if they enter tasmania without appropriate documentation case why wasn’t he turned around at the airport i can’t he was he we can’t send him he he was managed when he came to the airport um he was identified as someone who couldn’t go into tasmania the tasmanian community that was the critical step and he was taken into quarantine to manage him um that mitigates the risk he had the he was able to leave tasmania the emergency management act does allow people to leave tasmania out of quarantine at the time he left he was well he had no idea he had covert as he said it only takes one person you know to do the wrong thing when we’re dealing with the delta variant if he’s come from sydney i mean how likely is it that it could spread given her husband [Music] we there are measures in places in all the places he’s moved through even the plane that he flew down from the fluid that he flew with from launcest from melbourne to launceston there’s measures in place people are are wearing masks on that plane so there are measures all the way through to try and reduce that risk because you just don’t know where it’s i think i said it just a couple of days ago we probably won’t see ex we won’t be able to predict where the case is going to come from how much we know if it’s delta strain uh we expect we’ll know uh tomorrow or the next day how much of a head start has your your contact racing workforce being given by the fact that he was caught at the border and sent into hotel quarantine rather than just being able to enter the community i think that had this person moved in the community that would have been a much graver risk to tasmania and how important now is the use of the check-in app which we’re all supposed to be using religiously how important is that now in the battle to find out who may have been exposed he’s that we will be looking at i’ll have to the check-in has the the public health emergency team will be looking at the places that he’s gone to and if any of the places that he’s been at have meant have have are using check-in tasks they’ll use it but for this we multiply we have multiple ways of identifying uh uh people in sight something we can use there’s for example in in the hotels and at the airport we will know who was working there and we anything i’m just trying to think i’m not sure whether there are any places that it that we’re checking tas would have much in this circumstance obviously if someone is in the community check-in tas is often the only way we know where people are so please you know take this elevation of risk um as a cue to used um check in tas sorry if he already said this but um was the man a resident of new south wales and did he give a reason for why he was visiting tasmania i’m not going to go into the personal circumstance of this person notwithstanding the issues around the past the person had reasons for moving between new south wales and victoria that any of us could have questions for the premier now i just have one on that the director is this person facing any enforcement action from you as director no he’s not i’m not aware that he has breached any public health directions obviously if he did we’d look at that but i think this is an example not so much of someone breaching a public health direction but processes i sincerely hope um mitigating the risk and enabling us to get on and manage any residual risk with the contact tracing and follow-up that we’re doing right now just one final clarification just quickly sorry um the premiere mentioned earlier we can ask you about it in a minute but i can’t get your your view and perspective the premier mentioned the possibility and the consideration of further public health measures as a result of what’s occurred you know to what extent or can you quantify the likelihood of further public health measures that’s a result of this um i was contacted by the laboratory a little bit before 10 o’clock today and told our public health team at around about 10 o’clock of the need to assess the risk associated with this case they’re working really hard on that today and we will if we identify any actions that are necessary right now we will put them in place sooner rather than later but i need to have the information and discuss it with my senior colleagues before we decide whether any measures are taken you have heard the premier say that because of the increased risk environment that we’re in at the moment um the occurrence of this case um which will affect people in the north of the state you know quite a number of whom will be in quarantine for a spell and to some extent there is some uncertainty we we’re only a few hours into this we don’t know what we’re going to find from testing in the coming hours and days it really seems unacceptable to have a gathering of 10 000 people in that broad environment on on on the weekend and so that’s certainly one public health measure that we’ve taken um to reduce uh the potential for amplifying the risk through a large large crowd of the game somebody coming from a high risk area be allowed to take a standard taxi to get into hotel foreign uh they didn’t take a standard taxi to get into a quarantine they actually were taken by the transport arrangements that are put in place for moving people between the airport and quarantine hotels when they left they were enabled as i expect scores if not hundreds of people have been enabled over the last 12 months to return to their home state from a quarantine setting they were wearing a mask they were in the back of the taxi they didn’t have symptoms at the time and they had no idea that they had covered so we haven’t restricted the movement of people out of quarantine back to their home states in those circumstances throughout the the epidemic so far but we do put measures in place to make sure it’s as safe as this practical great premium the laws of tasmania stretch to the boundaries of tasmania and in terms of being able to stop somebody from getting on a plane in new south wales melvin timbuktu we don’t have those powers um obviously the the police service and those uh those states exercise the the laws of their jurisdictions what is interesting in this case though and it will need bear inspection is whether or not um he has broken a public health order that was in place in terms of the stay at home measures in place in sydney if the if dr veach or the public health area advises that we need further proportionary measures in tasmania because of this for instance introducing masks in indoor areas like supermarkets is that something you would be open to absolutely look we’ll work through this and if i can make this point as well this isn’t a case that we were ident that was identified and provided uh information with last night and where we’ve had contact tracers able to work through the night um as occurs in other jurisdictions with the lag of their reporting of their cases um this is a case that’s been reported to us mid morning this morning we’re standing up here within hours letting people know what’s occurred and providing what information we have at this time as we work through the course of the afternoon as we uh better understand the circumstances albeit we have what i think is a good understanding of the corridor that the person traveled through if there is a need for further public health measures then i’m certain the doctor vits will provide advice in that regard and we’ll accept them just going back to what you the first comments you made there um i mean do you think it’s something given the highly purchased nature of the variant do you think you know we should look again as a nation about people being able to board planes without the correct past the destination you know the trade to go to is it something that you think either the airlines or states collectively should get their heads around it seems a bit of a glaring emission really well if i could make this point matt um the laws of new south wales i mean in terms of uh their public health directions at the moment um we need to understand whether or not this individual has broken one of their laws um uh now in terms of um the circumstances we find ourselves in it is a little unusual but with a stay-at-home order in sydney and without a pass to enter tasmania you’d expect that this person has broken a public health order but that’s a matter for new south wales public health not me these uh border controls that we’ve had in place broadly across the country work very well uh but you only need somebody that’s prepared to to flaunt those rules or to be dishonest in terms of um [Music] the way that they treat a either a tassie travel app or a good to go app um or in this case travel without eight pass what’s your advice to the people who either have had contact and need to isolate people in the area who may be concerned what actions should people be taking now to prepare themselves for what’s going to be a developing situation well obviously and we’ve we’ve named up uh the two flights uh in terms of those people should self-isolate um they should check themselves for symptoms and they should wait for public health to get in touch i would make the point there is no need for people to panic and i i think you know the point that i’ve made very clearly is that you know this is a case that’s been identified in quarantine that’s had a well understood travel corridor to and from quarantine and we simply just need to work through that now since a balloon responsibly the point that dr veach made is that in terms of the travel corridor uh in most uh cases um there are mitigation measures mask wearing other social distancing requirements um so the corridors have a a level of [Music] safety wrapped around them but again those people that have been in touch with this individual need to self-isolate and monitor themselves and take advice from public health there’s additional capacity in the north for um people to come forward and have those additional tests yes we do and we do have surge capacity and i’ve asked catherine to come in this morning and she’ll explain uh the search capacity that will be available there but i’d expect that there will be a number of people um that that will get tested but we certainly know when we’ve seen outbreaks that have occurred in other states that we’ve seen testing increase in tasmania i’m certain that um with the case albert in quarantine uh we’ll see a surge in um uh people looking forward [Music] arrived after he’d returned to new south wales but he was tested in tasmania um this is the second time that an a4 match has been canceled at the last minute in the last couple of months are you worried that this will leave us our taste in the mouth of the league’s power brokers and you’re worried it will affect our chances for our own afl team absolutely not look last weekend um i think the afl cancelled five games on the mainland and um and uh provided um a change in venue and time frame so look this is just the way that uh we’re living at the moment unfortunately and whilst um you know i must admit i was very much looking forward to seeing collingwood um arrive in tasmania as i’m sure many people were it simply would not be the responsible thing to do to allow that to go ahead at this stage noting that we’ll have a surge in testing and many of those results might be in by sunday this is not community transmission this case but if community transmission of a delta variant does occur in tasmania how confident are you that tasmania’s health system and other services will be able to cope with that well look i’ve said we had unfortunately a learning experience last year in terms of the north west outbreak and that was the first major outbreak that any state or territory had had and i think the um the description of the way that we handled that was exemplary by the um then chief medical officer of this country uh we are ready uh for an event like this uh but importantly it’s not at this stage community transmission it’s a case that’s been identified in uh quarantine and we’ll work through our contact tracking and tracing and understand fully uh and exactly how best to manage this you should given once again given you know what we now know about um the delta variant should people who enter the state illegally and then enter into quarantine be allowed to stop sticks and and go back home whenever they want um do you think we need to look at that i think that is a matter of the term that we will be uh looking at yes and looking at very closely do you think this case is a personal failure or a failure in the processes and if so what would be the appropriate consequence well again as i’ve said um we need to work our way through this quite obviously this person has left new south wales without a valid travel pass to tasmania and so in the first instance it appears that that person has more than likely broken a new south wales law in terms of a public health directive but that’s a matter for them they’ve arrived in the state our system has then worked you know in terms of this individual he’s been immediately quarantined and you know pleasingly he’s no longer in the state but obviously we need to do some contact tracking and tracing to ensure that we’re right on top of this and it was a bit of a risk um deciding to have the football match did the state government front up money to make that happen and are we going to lose money as a result of this cancellation uh that we won’t lose money as a result of the cancellation i’d make this point in terms of additional gains in tasmania last year the state saved and and i’ll say unfortunately because we had no afl played in the state last year the state uh saved um several million dollars last year as a result this year we’ve had additional games um and that has cost us you know usually around the same amount as a game would have cost us last year so it’s about a break-even situation going ahead without a crowd ah no why was that no look i think um in terms of the circumstances uh developing victoria as well and obviously as we’ve said we’ll um we’ll take further advice this afternoon uh in terms of whether or not there are there is a need to put border restrictions in place with victoria but at this stage um yeah the advice is not to do that uh but obviously they have a developing situation there as well and uh as that um as we provided with further advice and we’ll make a decision there can i just ask a technical question a lot of technical questions but various websites give different answers to the question of when our last case was do we have a date for the last case confirmed case in tasmania we’ve got provide that i know it’s over 12 months ago but we’ll get um we’ll get you that detail thank you premier and just to open and to confirm that our emergency management arrangements around a the detection of a positive covert case in tasmania remain fully activated so we have our covert coordination center which is run out of our department of police fire and emergency management and we also have our health emergency coordination centre and various emergency operation centers which remain fully activated so we follow protocols once there is a detection of a positive case in tasmania and remain prepared for that in terms of our surging in testing and particularly given that the detection has occurred within quarantine but in launceston we have made arrangements in relation to surge at our wellington street clinic in launceston which will be open for into late into this evening so a further shift is being swung into the wellington street site we have surged in terms of volumes at our public health hotline and so to ensure that we do have staff there that are available to take any calls or queries and noting that tests can also be booked online at our coronavirus website at www.coronavirus.tas.gov.iu and we will also be looking at uh the next few days in terms of that surge noting that we were already at a heightened level of test surge given the queensland situation and just to just to end um to note for every tasmanian that this really reinforces the need for our covert safety kits so to really think about your hand hygiene to have downloaded the check in tas app and we had the question about how important check-in tas is and in a situation like we see that is developing today it is absolutely critical that people do continue to check in at premises so that if we are detecting and should there be a case of community transmission that our public health contact tracing team is able to quickly download that information and to get in contact with you noting that this is a case that has been detected in quarantine we know the staff members that have been involved in terms of this controlled corridor of movement of this particular case and we’ve also provided details today at this conference in relation to the two flights and instructions around isolation and that we will be contacting every single person on those flights and providing instructions in relation to testing but we’ll be providing a further update today is there some consolation of this person has landed in the most vaccinated city in australia is that going to help the outcome here i’d like to probably say that there’s no consolation in actually having a positive covert test but as state health commander you know we’re very pleased to celebrate a 50 vaccinated milestone yesterday and so with some 50 percent of eligible tasmanians receiving that dose one but it does really underline the need to get tasmanians vaccinated so it is absolutely critical that people that have already received dose 1 are actually returning for these dose 2 vaccination we are adding bookings every single day to our booking system and it’s really a call out to tasmanians and to think about your checking tas think about your hand hygiene to have masks that are prepared and ready should we place a restriction on movements in the community that require mask wearing and to book in if you haven’t already for a vaccination would you expect or hope that this might actually lead to a surge in people making facts bookings to get vaccinated and certainly this has been part of our planning for the detection of a positive case that we are prepared also for a potential surge in our vaccination centers and we have opened for example our devonport clinic only just yesterday and to also try and increase our penetration across the north and northwest lon seston has had the door of hope our vaccination clinic also open this week if someone say has an appointment to get their second job in two weeks time but they could get it technically now because four weeks has passed would you encourage that they try and get that um appointment brought forward so at any time you can actually hop on to the online form if you have booked online and to also look to see if there are earlier dates because as i mentioned we do add in you know thousands of appointments a week as we are opening up and people are also moving appointments around for example if they are sick on the day and can’t attend a vaccination clinic and it may free up um but we will watch closely in terms of the the surge that is coming through on vaccination bookings and will respond accordingly and you become fully vaccinated from the moment that jab is delivered or does it take i don’t know 24 hours a couple days so it’s probably a question from one of our clinicians but it does take a certain period of time following that second vaccination dose for the body to actually respond to that vaccination how many ventilators does tasmania have so tasmania has actually accumulated quite a stockpile in relation to ventilators we have well over 250 ventilators that are actually within the state uh and since the northwest outbreak we’ve also taken the opportunity to swap in uh to our hospitals brand new ventilators to be used in each of our our icu areas and the strain behaves differently to the strain that was involved in the outbreak in the northwest has have you made changes to the way hospitals are prepared to deal with an outbreak when it comes to delta compared to the way that they were prepared last year so each of our hospitals do have escalation management plans and they are regularly reviewed and we have been reviewing them since particularly the start of the new south wales delta outbreak to take steps an example when dealing for example with the delta variant will be about the number of cases in the community that might trigger uh the movement from escalation one to two to three for example within our hospitals and i should say for our hospitals at the moment for any visitors to hospitals you are required to undertake a health screening and you’re also required to wear a mask within our hospitals thank you you
rn

IN FULL: NSW traveller tests positive for COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Tasmania | ABC News

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *