Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
Tasmania is close to topping the nation in our state’s Covid infection rate, but this is no matter for celebration.
This epic public health failure by the Premier and his Liberal government has led to 15 deaths, more than 10,000 active Covid cases, and over 73 000 Tasmanians infected with a novel bat virus since the borders opened – including thousands of children and young people. These were, in large part, avoidable infections.
Instead of taking steps to slow the spread and prevent infection, the Premier chose to remove mask wearing protections and allow Covid BA.2 to run rampant.
If Tasmania was a country, our current cases per capita would have us in the top 15 countries in the world.
Tasmanian schools are chaotic, with teachers and students infected and isolating across the entire education system. Vulnerable children with special needs are being taught by staff in face masks and full PPE, or not at all. The education of young people is being significantly and needlessly disrupted.
The Premier knows that all children under 12 are still not fully vaccinated, with first dose vaccinations now stalled at 62%. Vaccine boosters are fast waning in efficacy against infection, and they don’t prevent reinfection with Omicron. One in five adults, and all children, have limited protection against the risk of long Covid.
Public health could mandate all Tasmanians wear masks indoors, and massively increase everyone’s level of protection during this out of control virus wave.
Instead, the Premier has caved in to pressure from the top end of town, steadfastly turned his back on public health protections and left Tasmanians on their own.
They want to know, as we do, what is the Premier’s end game with this virus? Is it to keep allowing repeat infections in wave after wave of this virus, because that’s what the evidence points to.
This is a public health failure of mammoth proportions.
Covid has taken out four members of Tasmania’s Parliament, two are infected and two are close contacts – one of whom is the Premier himself.
While we hope the Premier doesn’t get the virus, we do hope he will take the seven days in isolation to reflect on the decisions he has made that have let Covid rip through the Tasmanian community.