Tasmania to lift toughest virus restrictions in north-west

RAAF Squadron Leader Cameron Brockel leads a daily briefing at a Burnie hospital during the strict lockdown.

RAAF Squadron Leader Cameron Brockel leads a daily briefing at a Burnie hospital during the strict lockdown. Photo: AAP

A tough lockdown of north-west Tasmania is about to be eased as the state gets on top of the region’s deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Premier Peter Gutwein said additional restrictions, which forced non-essential retailers to shut and schools to stay closed, would be lifted from Monday.

Thousands of people linked to two Burnie hospitals at the centre of the outbreak were also quarantined. The hospitals were closed for deep cleaning, led by an Australian Defence Force team.

“The outbreak in the north-west is now largely under control,” Mr Gutwein said on Friday.

“We are confident that those additional restrictions … placed on the north-west almost three weeks ago, will be able to lift.”

Businesses will be allowed to reopen on Monday and schools will open for students who cannot stay home.

Of Tasmania’s 221 confirmed coronavirus cases, 147 are in the north-west, including 12 of the 13 deaths.

tasmania restrictions burnie

The North West Regional Hospital was closed for deep cleaning. Photo: AAP

On Thursday, a report revealed the outbreak in the north-west likely originated from passengers returning from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The stronger measures forced all businesses to close, except those offering medical services.

Pharmacies, supermarkets, businesses providing food, takeaway businesses, bakeries, service stations, laundromats, dry cleaners, newsagents, bottle shops, car repairers, banks and businesses offering veterinary services were also allowed to remain open.

Mr Gutwein has stressed that earlier statewide restrictions remain in place.

“On Monday [May 4], the businesses and services which were impacted by those additional restrictions can reopen,” Mr Gutwein said.

“It’s important to note and I want to be clear about this, there is no misunderstanding, this will only be the lifting of the additional restrictions.”

An 86-year-old woman succumbed to the coronavirus at Mersey Community Hospital in Latrobe on Thursday.

“It’s a reminder as to why we have rules in place for people to follow to keep them safe and keep their community safer,” Mr Gutwein said.

Australia’s national coronavirus toll was at 93 on Friday morning.

-with agencies

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