Public Health Emergency for Tasmania declared

17 March 2020

Dr Scott, Acting Director of Public Health

The Director of Public Health has declared a Public Health Emergency for Tasmania to help manage the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

This declaration provides the Director with emergency powers. These include directives to require a person to quarantine or isolate, require a person to undergo a clinical assessment, ban entry of people to an area or remove people from an area, and take any action required to manage the threat coronavirus poses to public health.

With the spread of coronavirus increasing internationally and many imported cases into Australia including Tasmania, additional powers are needed to ensure the implementation of evidence-based public health activities in Tasmania that are proportionate and scalable to protect people in Tasmania and control local transmission of the disease.

These powers will allow the Director to implement public health measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Tasmania when it inevitably occurs and protect people most vulnerable to severe disease. This will help reduce the demand on our health care system.

Coronavirus can be severe and no specific treatment currently exists. Public health measures are required to mitigate the risks to both human health and the healthcare system.

While most people who will get coronavirus will experience a mild disease, it can be serious or even fatal for some, and an uncontrolled epidemic can cause very high demands on the health care system.

These emergency powers will initially be used to enable the banning of mass gatherings and the requiring of people arriving in Tasmania after overseas travel to enter 14 days of self-quarantine from the time of their arrival in Australia.

The status of the declaration will be reviewed regularly, and Tasmanians can be assured this provides the Director of Public Health with the necessary powers to do what is needed to control coronavirus in Tasmania and protect public health.

Tasmanians should keep calm, continue to work and go to school if you are well, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, practice social or physical distancing, keep informed by regularly accessing the Department of Health Coronavirus website or calling the National Coronavirus Health Information Line.

Important information for the public:

  • Anyone who returns from overseas should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Anyone who returns from overseas and develops symptoms within 14 days should ring the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or contact your GP.  If you are experiencing extreme symptoms which require emergency treatment ring 000 or go to the emergency department.
  • People can help stop the spread of respiratory illness by washing their hands regularly with soap and water and covering sneezes and coughs with a tissue or their elbow.
  • It is important to remember that if you are unwell - do not attend work or school or as a visitor to other vulnerable settings such as aged care homes, hospitals, and seek medical advice as appropriate.
  • Anyone requiring more information about coronavirus should contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.