Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
The Covid situation in Tasmania is untenable. The skyrocketing cases and hospitalisations are down to the Liberals’ reckless, unscientific decision to facilitate mass infection and reinfection.
As international and independent health experts – and the Greens - have warned, Covid subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are highly infectious and more severe than earlier mutations. Without strong protections, mass community transmission will continue unabated. This was confirmed today by Premier Rockliff as the predicted scenario in Tasmania.
1,700 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, and once again hospitalisations are up – and yet another Tasmanian has passed away. The government now say the new wave is likely to peak in August or September.
It was irresponsible for the Rockliff Government to end the Covid public health emergency declaration in the middle of winter, with these new subvariants spreading rapidly.
BA.4 and BA.5 have been observed by researchers at the Harvard Medical School as appearing to escape antibody responses among both people who had previous Covid infection, as well as those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted. This is a frightening scenario for a community already under assault from Covid.
The Premier is now saying that masks are “strongly recommended in indoor settings”. Why not mandate them, to protect Tasmanians?
Rising hospitalisations, from Covid and flu, are putting further pressure on Tasmanians health system, and winter has only just begun.
Healthcare professionals are being infected and unable to turn up to work, and we are seeing a similar situation at Ashley Youth Detention Centre, where children are being locked in their rooms to cope with lack of staff.
What else has to shut down before the Liberals act?
There are a range of simple, common-sense strategies like masks, ventilation and air filtration that we should be using to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Premier Rockliff and Dr Veitch cannot continue to leave Tasmanians, particularly those who are immune compromised, disabled, elderly or previously infected, at such increased risk.
We implore the Premier to listen to the independent experts and international evidence on how dangerous Covid-19 is, and put the lives of Tasmanians first.