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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
5.30pm: NO NEW CASES FROM NORTH-WEST COVID-19 CLUSTER
AN EAST Devonport nursing home will return to normal operations on Monday, with 14 days passing since an elderly resident tested positive to coronavirus.
The news comes as Mark Veitch, the state’s public health director, confirmed no new cases had arisen from a cluster of infections at Smithton, with about 50 contacts currently in quarantine.
3pm: BEST PLACES TO WORK DURING THE PANDEMIC
Job security pledges, staff bonuses and salaries paid in advance are among the initiatives being offered to Australia’s luckiest workers amid the COVID-19 chaos.
While some employers are having to stand down staff or reduce their hours, others are going above and beyond to give employees peace of mind during these uncertain times.
11.30am: ALMOST 200 TASMANIANS BREACHED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
A TOTAL of 196 Tasmanians have been summonsed or arrested for breaching restriction put in place due to coronavirus.
Premier Peter Gutwein said in recent days the number of breaches had been quite low following a blitz at Easter.
“Generally speaking Tasmanias have been prepared to follow the rules,” he said.
Mr Gutwein said that despite a drop in breaches detected, the same number of Tasmania Police officers were patrolling and enforcing the rules.
The Premier was pleased to report that this Easter was the first in a long time when no road fatalities were reported.
11.15am: PREMIER DISCUSSES TASMANIA’S ROAD TO RECOVERY
PREMIER Peter Gutwein said the fact that there were no new cases in Tasmania in the last 24 hours was very pleasing.
“What it demonstrates is that Tasmanians are doing the right thing and it’s working,” he said.
Mr Gutwein said yesterday’s national cabinet discussed the road to recovery and restrictions going forward.
“We went into this early and we went into this hard.
“We need to come out of this carefully, sensibly and importantly in a way that keeps Tasmanians safe.”
Mr Gutwein said he expects that we will see further cases of coronavirus in Tasmania.
The north-west outbreak is largely under control and some restrictions will be lifted.
Mr Gutwein said now was not the time to become complacent.
He encouraged all Tasmanians to download the COVIDsafe ap.
Mr Gutwein said he anticipated Tasmania’s green spaces would be some of the first to open.
The Premier said the swift action taken in Tasmania would allow us to step out of this in a reasoned way to rebuild the economy and create jobs.
“And we will deal with the second crisis in front of us which is the economic crisis.”
11am: THE STATE GOVERNMENT’S DAILY CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
Watch Premier Peter Gutwein’s update in full here:
9pm Friday: NEW PHONE SERVICE FOR TASMANIANS’ MENTAL HEALTH
LIFELINE Tasmania has launched a dedicated phone service to assist locals struggling to cope under the weight of COVID-19.
CEO Debbie Evans said the new 1800 98 44 34 service will provide emotional and practical support to Tasmanians facing new challenges during the pandemic.
She said the crisis had turned peoples’ lives “upside down” and was seeing some people with no previous mental health issues experience situational distress.
“Situational distress can lead to things like anxiety, fear for the future, a lack of feeling productive and depression-like symptoms,” she said.
8.15pm Friday: NO NEW CASES DIAGNOSED
TASMANIA has enjoyed another day with no new diagnosed infections of COVID-19.
Public health director Mark Veitch confirmed the news on Friday night, meaning the state’s total infection tally remained at 221.
He also said processing of tests would continue overnight.
Friday was the second time in two weeks that Tasmania has recorded days without fresh coronavirus cases.
Before April 23, the state had increased its tally each day since an infection-free day was recorded on March 31.
Extra efforts are being made to identify any further cases in the north-west outbreak area, with anyone in the region with respiratory symptoms asked to arrange testing through the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or their GP.
7pm Friday: NEW VIRUS CLUSTER BEING MONITORED BY AUTHORITIES
A NEW cluster of coronavirus cases in Tasmania involves a “well-defined” circle of people.
The Circular Head community is reacting to news it is now home to seven positive coronavirus cases by rushing to get tested.
Of the 888 tests carried out across Tasmania on Thursday 562 were given to residents in the North West and 77 in Smithton.
5pm Friday: NOT THE PUBLICITY BURNIE WAS AFTER
THEY say any publicity is good publicity but the North West’s claim to fame as one of Australia’s coronavirus epicentres is not the kind of advertising campaign the region had expected or wanted.
The North West, with its main urban centres of Devonport and Burnie, is a relatively isolated part of Australia’s island state and when the coronavirus emergency broke out, residents felt they would be almost immune.
That, perhaps naive, mindset changed in late March when the first cases and deaths, associated with the virus happened at public hospitals in the North West.
3pm Friday: AUSSIES MAY GET EARLY MARK, SAYS PM
AUSTRALIANS have been so successful flattening the coronavirus curve they have earned an “early mark” with restrictions to start being eased in just one week, Scott Morrison has revealed.
The Prime Minister said the National Cabinet of state and territory leaders had agreed to consider easing strict shut down measures from May 8 – a week earlier than was originally planned when the committee agreed to wait a month before moving any reactions.
Mr Morrison said one “critical” element in deciding how far restrictions are rolled back included how many people downloaded the federal government’s COVIDSafe app.
11.30am Friday: MERSEY HOSPITAL PATIENT INFECTED
ONE OF Tasmania’s most recent cases of coronavirus is a patient at the Mersey Community Hospital.
The woman in her 70s was diagnosed yesterday.
Director of Public Health Mark Veitch said a Tasmanian Health Service team, in collaboration with Public Health, have identified a number of staff contacts of the woman, and they have been furloughed from work.
Dr Veitch said the contact tracing process would continue in coming days.
“This is a process of identifying cases quickly and taking actions to prevent further spread,’’ he said.
“They are also investigating the possible source of that case and that will probably arise from further work that they do over the coming days.”
Meanwhile, a cluster of cases in Smithton has now reached seven, with further cases anticipated in coming days as testing continues in the town.
9.55am Friday: ADDITIONAL NORTH-WEST COVID-19 MEASURES TO BE LIFTED
BIG-BOX retailers and schools will reopen in Tasmania’s coronavirus epicentre on Monday as extra restrictions placed on the region are lifted.
Premier Peter Gutwein announced this morning that the outbreak, which has claimed 12 lives in the North-West, was now “largely under control”, so the extra restrictions imposed on April 12 could now be removed.
“On Monday, businesses and services can reopen and staff can return to work,” Mr Gutwein said.
“We are only lifting the additional restrictions placed on the North-West.
“It’s important to note, these changes will bring the North-West in line with the rest of Tasmanian restrictions, which means restrictions on personal movement and the operation of certain businesses will still apply.”
However, retail businesses that were required to close when the additional North-West restrictions came into force three weeks ago, but were previously operating under the previous statewide restrictions will now be allowed to reopen.
This includes non-essential retail such as big-box retailers, clothing and whitegood stores, hairdressers, bookstores, tobacconists and the like.
“I would like to thank all those retailers and their employees who have been forced to close for the past three weeks for their understanding and sacrifice, Mr Gutwein said.
He warned if there was another spike in infection numbers in the North-West, the extra restrictions could be reactivated.
“That is a lever available to us if the health and safety of Tasmanias is put at risk,” Mr Gutwein said.
The Government will make decisions about statewide restrictions in the lead up to May 15.
A full list of statewide restrictions on public gatherings and business can be found at: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au
Originally published as Tasmania’s recovery to be careful, sensible and safe: Premier