Premier Peter Gutwein says Tasmania won't be closing its borders amid the coronavirus crisis. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS

Health

Tas borders won’t close for virus: premier

2020-03-19 20:10:16

Tasmania’s premier has rejected calls for a border lockdown as more major events in the state shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been suggestions the Apple Isle use its island advantage to implement tougher isolation measures on incoming travellers, or close off visitation entirely. 

But Premier Peter Gutwein said Tasmania’s borders will remain open.

“We will not be stopping trade, we will not be closing our borders,” he said on Wednesday.

“The clothes we are wearing today, the food we ate for breakfast. These things come across our borders, they must continue to come across our borders.”

Labor opposition leader Rebecca White believes Tasmania is in a unique situation as an island and should make all arrivals self-isolate for two weeks, not just those from overseas. 

Mr Gutwein said he was taking ongoing advice, but a 14-day self-isolation period for all travellers wasn’t recommended at this point. 

Three new cases were confirmed on Wednesday night, two men and a woman in the state’s south.

The trio, all aged in their 40s, recently travelled to Tasmania from overseas and are not connected to any previous cases. 

No locally transmitted cases have been recorded in the state. 

Hobart’s popular Salamanca Market is closing for an initial two-week period, while the Spiegeltent will no longer host arts and cultural events.

Hobart Mayor Anna Reynolds said the closure would help ensure the iconic market’s longevity beyond the current crisis.

“We know there will be pain for businesses in the coming weeks and possibly months,” she said.

The state’s Supreme Court has put jury trials on hold until at least July 21. Judges will continue to deal with guilty pleas, bail matters, appeals, pre-recording of evidence and civil cases. 

Court registries will remain open in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Mr Gutwein reiterated schools would stay open in Tasmania, in line with national medical advice. 

The state’s agricultural festival Agfest, scheduled for May, has been called off.

More than 700 exhibitors were already locked in for the annual event, which was tipped to draw 65,000 people. 

About 400 virus tests have been undertaken in the state, while 88 people are in self-isolation.