Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson
The Greens welcome the introduction of an indoor mask mandate, but question why this important measure has not been in place since the state’s borders opened last week.
The expert epidemiological modelling commissioned by the Government was oxygen-clear - when our borders opened to states with high levels of COVID, the virus would inevitably enter Tasmania.
Given this, and the rapid rise of the highly contagious Omicron strain, a mask mandate should have been in place in Tasmania from day one.
There are now seven confirmed cases in less than a week of borders opening. After almost two COVID-free years, many Tasmanians are understandably worried.
Masks are a crucial defence against the spread of COVID-19, particularly in indoor and crowded settings. It’s vital to mandate mask wearing for these settings.
Public health principles do not rely on individuals to take action - that is a recipe for pandemics to spread.
Other countries that have taken public health measures too late, like the UK and European countries, are now forced to step in with more extreme responses to control spiralling hospital cases.
The only way to control pandemics is at a population level by creating the regulations and systems to protect our community. Mask mandates for likely super spreader environments, especially indoor areas, is an obvious preventive measures.
In addition to mask mandates, the Government should re-establish communication around new cases and exposure sites. Since COVID entered Tasmania the first day borders were open, new cases have emerged daily but many Tasmanians are missing out on this crucial information in real time.
We’ve already recorded seven cases in less than a week, despite the border measures in place.
What Tasmanians want to hear is that the Gutwein Government will do everything in its capacity to keep them safe, and not let the virus rip as they are seeing in some mainland states.