Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
Tasmania has recorded over 1800 new Covid cases, and more than 12 aged care facilities and the West Coast District Hospital have recorded outbreaks. In addition, the North West Regional and Launceston General Hospitals are still at level three of their Covid Management Plans.
Today, Tasmania has also recorded 100 people in hospital who have Covid, as new subvariants spread rapidly in the community. This is the dire situation the State finds itself in, and Premier Rockliff is responsible for continuing to refuse to implement protections to dampen the severity.
Since the borders reopened, the Liberals have always claimed Tasmanians shouldn’t worry about rising case numbers, because it is hospitalisations and deaths that are the real metric of concern. The Premier promised to act when they did - well, now will the government finally do something?
Hospitalisations are the highest they have ever been in Tasmania, but still the Premier won’t reintroduce mask protections.
The Greens have warned the government a major winter Covid wave was coming, based on research and reports from other countries, and we have asked question after question in Parliament. We have written to the Premier and Health Ministers, along with the Director of Public Health, and received no response.
We even debated a motion in Parliament calling for the Liberals to release the public health advice they have relied upon to drop Covid protections – which they used their numbers to vote down.
100 Tasmanians have lost their lives to this virus, 100 more are in hospital right now and two-fifths of the Tasmanian population has been infected. What advice is Premier Rockliff relying on to say masks should stay off, and people remain unprotected?
It is a despicable irony the government has ended the public health emergency declaration and dropped mandated mask wearing in facilities for the most vulnerable, as Tasmanians and healthcare workers are groaning under the weight of a massive Covid wave of infections.
The State’s hospitals are under huge strain from Covid cases, outbreaks and absenteeism. We have nurses, for example, working 12 hours shifts – and winter has only just begun.
Premier Rockliff owes Tasmanians an explanation - if it’s not hospitalisations or deaths, what is the threshold for implementing critical protections and Covid mitigations? There is no humane reason for it to get worse.