Coronavirus Tasmania: live rotating blog, Friday 13 March

  • The fourth case of coronavirus status was confirmed on Friday morning
  • Health authorities say it is not necessary to close the borders of Tasmania, describing it as “socially disruptive”
  • School closings are not currently recommended
  • Tasmanians are at “low risk” of contracting the virus and no person-to-person transmission has been recorded
  • Tasmanians should not be discouraged from traveling freely in the country
  • A public health care line for coronavirus management has seen an increase in demand, with 1000 calls recorded in a single day this week
  • The state government expected to say more about the upcoming big events in the next few days after national counseling on mass meetings

OTHER NEWS CORONAVIRUS:

CLOSING SCHOOLS AND BORDERS NOT NECESSARY

POSSIBLE measures to curb the spread of coronavirus such as closing the borders of Tasmania and closing schools are not necessary at this stage, say health authorities.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney and director of public health Mark Veitch spoke to the media on Friday afternoon and said the state was well prepared to handle the coronavirus threat.

Dr. Veitch said that there is no need to close the borders of Tasmania and said it would be “socially disruptive”.

“It is very unlikely that closing the border with Tasmania or closing the highway between Albury and Wodonga would make much difference to spread,” he said.

“Closing borders is unlikely to be a commensurate measure. It would be a socially disruptive measure for Tasmania or any Australian border that has been closed.”

Courtney agreed.

“I will always rely on expert advice and Dr Veitch stressed that it is not necessary at the moment,” he said.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
media_cameraHealth Minister Sarah Courtney. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

“It’s not something I’m contemplating, however we will always take steps in the best interest of the Tasmanians and this is my top priority.”

Dr. Veitch said closings were not recommended at the time, but said steps would be taken if a case had been confirmed within a school.

“The merit of closing schools has been taken into consideration, but it is certainly a fairly substantial measure that would interrupt education and would affect the parents and families of schoolchildren who were unable to go to school,” he said.

“If there was a case in a school, we would discuss if there is a need for a quarantine for students or classes.”

Courtney said the Tasmanians were “low risk” and that no person-to-person transmission occurred in the state.

Dr. Veitch said that a dedicated hotline set up to manage coronavirus in Tasmania has seen an increase in use, with over 1000 calls recorded in a single day this week.

But Courtney said the health system is adequately prepared for risk.

“We have a number of scenarios that we foresee within the health system. There has been a significant amount of planning work that has been done, not only through the public system but also through our private system,” he said.

“We want to make sure we hope for the best, but to plan for the worst and therefore, as a state, we have a series of scenarios that we can look at.”

Dr Veitch said there is no evidence of community transmission of coronavirus in Tasmania and that employees do not need to work from home.

But he said that as the situation evolves, it is reasonable for organizations to consider potential responses such as alternative work arrangements in the coming months.

Dr Veitch said that “there is no reason why Tasmanians can avoid interstate travel.

Courtney said discussions will be held in the coming days on responses to the next major Tasmanian events, following national councils on mass meetings.

Cameron Whiteley

TAX EVENTS: POSITIONED, CANCELED OR COMMERCIAL AS usual?

The Salamanca market will continue, but a number of other events and sports games have been canceled to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The general manager of Hobart City Council, Nick Heath, said the board was in communication with the state’s health department to determine the short-term future of market operations.

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DETAILS OF THE FOURTH CONFIRMED CASE OF CORONAVIRUS IN TASMANIA

Health Minister Sarah Courtney and director of public health, dr. Mark Veitch, released some details on the fourth confirmed case of coronavirus in Tasmania.

The press conference was streamed live on Mercury Facebook page.

Dr. Veitch said that the woman in her forties, who was diagnosed Thursday afternoon, is currently isolated in the UTAS-provided housing in Launceston because she is not “undue”.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney and Director of Public Health Mark Veitch provide an update on the fourth coronavirus case in Tasmania. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
media_cameraHealth Minister Sarah Courtney and Director of Public Health Mark Veitch provide an update on the fourth coronavirus case in Tasmania. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

Public health services have informed UTAS that there is no risk to other people on campus and that normal campus activities can continue.

The other three cases remain in medical care and are also stable.

Dr Veitch said the woman’s infection was not related to previous cases and is not due to local transmission in Tasmania.

He said the woman traveled to Australia from the Philippines on March 8th.

He then boarded Jetstar Flight JQ731 from Melbourne to Launceston, which landed around 8.05 am on March 9, said Dr. Veitch.

Passengers who were sitting nearby and a number of other people known by the woman were contacted and asked to quarantine for 14 days.

Dr. Veitch said that all the other travelers on the flight were at low risk.

Dr. Veitch said that “most people” with coronavirus will be managed from home as long as they are not “unduly undue”.

DRAWERS CORONAVIRUS DOUBTS ABOVE ROUND SUPERCARS TAXES

Image: DANIEL KALISZ / GETTY IMAGES
media_cameraImage: DANIEL KALISZ / GETTY IMAGES

The Tasmanian round in the Supercars championship is in serious doubt after the second round in Melbourne was canceled giving a potential blow of $ 10 million to the state’s economy.

Tickets for Tasmania’s biggest sporting event were selling as hot cakes in anticipation of the last time fans would see Holden supercars battling Symmons Plains Raceway on April 3-5.

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AGFEST ADVANCES IN THIS PHASE

The organizers of the largest agricultural event in Tasmania are carrying out the plans, but a committee of the royal commission has decided to put his visit to the north of the state on ice.

The Agfest Organizing Committee states that it is closely monitoring the situation and has contingencies in place if they have to cancel.

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UTAS WILL NOT YET CLOSE ITS DOORS IN FEAR OF CORONAVIRUS

Professor Rufus Black, Vice Chancellor of the University of Tasmania. Image: PATRICK GEE
media_cameraProfessor Rufus Black, Vice Chancellor of the University of Tasmania. Image: PATRICK GEE

The University of Tasmania is ready to close Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black if necessary.

Speaking this morning, Professor Black said he predicted potential from about January.

“We are committed to being able to prepare ourselves for as many online courses as possible. At the moment there are almost 112 units, topics so particular, that we would be able to deliver online. Obviously it was a lot of work to achieve this goal, “he said.

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WOMAN IN LAUNCESTON FOURTH CASE OF CORONAVIRUS

A woman in her forties is in solitary confinement in the student accommodation of the University of Tasmania in Launceston after being diagnosed with the fourth case of Tasmania’s coronavirus.

The Public Health Office announced that it is handling the situation and has informed that the student is isolated, well supported and that there is no risk to others on campus.

“Normal campus operations can continue,” said a spokesman.

“Public health manages it carefully to ensure public safety.

“Further information will be provided later today once public health officials have been able to complete the necessary investigations and assessments in order to accurately inform the public.”

Chris Arnold, UTAS director of safety and well-being, wrote to all staff and students informing them of the Newnham campus resident’s diagnosis.

Arnold said that when there was a local broadcast in Tasmania. the University would move on to online delivery of teaching “to the maximum extent possible”, a model for rotating people at work from home, where possible, and careful management of the circumstances in which people have to work on campus.

This current case is not a local broadcast case.

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