Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
The imminent docking of the Coral Princess cruise ship in Burnie without any mandated Covid safeguards is the latest in a string of reckless public health decisions by the Rockliff Government.
This cruise ship has a well-documented Covid outbreak on board. The ship’s protocols mean inevitably there is a very high chance some passengers disembarking in Burnie will be infectious. Despite this likely risk, the Liberals are allowing hundreds of passengers to leave the ship and enter the Burnie community without even requiring passengers to take the most basic protections.
While the Government claims positive cases are isolated to their ship cabins, they have no oversight to check this. There’s a high likelihood newly infectious and asymptomatic cases will unknowingly enter the community.
If Premier Rockliff was serious about protecting Tasmanians – especially people who are vulnerable, elderly, or living with disability – he would act now and establish mandatory safeguards for cruise arrivals. These should include checks that every passenger tests Covid-negative prior to disembarking, and wears at mask at all times while on-shore.
In a relatively smaller population such as Burnie, introducing a likely significant new source of Covid infection could have a far greater impact on the local population. This cruise ship could accelerate an already increasing local outbreak.
According to the latest COVID Surveillance Report, the entire North-West of Tasmania averaged 24 new cases a day in the week 15 to 22 October. Introducing hundreds of passengers who have been exposed to Covid into the community unnecessarily increases the risk to locals.
Putting in place basic protections to limit the risk of cruise arrivals would be a no-brainer for any government that still had a genuine public health-based response to Covid. Unfortunately, it seems the Premier is now more interested in keeping big business happy than in his role as Health Minister to keep all Tasmanians safe and well.