Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
The Gutwein Government’s decision to remove universal mask wearing requirements for retail settings, and in hospitality and markets in a week, is a preposterous move.
The decision follows a week of sustained high Covid case numbers, including in primary schools, and denies the reality that many Tasmanians are not fully vaccinated, with three doses.
A substantial proportion of Tasmanians are not yet fully vaccinated, including no child under 12 years old. On Wednesday the Minister for Education, in response to our question in Parliament, admitted there are 1710 young people with active Covid, nearly 1300 of whom are in primary school.
Mask wearing reduces the risk of hospitalisation from Covid, as well as the risk of developing long Covid and its potentially serious and disabling consequences.
With the high amount of virus circulating among unprotected Tasmanians, the Premier’s removal of an indoor mask wearing requirement at this point is reckless, and careless about the chronic disease burden risk.
People can be infected with Covid and show no symptoms, or take days before symptoms appear. Universal mask wearing reduces the viral load in an indoor air space, and substantially reduces an individual’s risk and the level of infection across the community.
The Premier’s actions are inexplicable when children and about a third of adults are not yet fully vaccinated. He should return to putting the health and safety of vulnerable Tasmanians, including all children, beyond his “open for business” focus.
In the current Covid climate, the Premier‘s decision is reckless and it flies in the face of epidemiological science. In this context, we urge all Tasmanians to continue wearing masks.