Helicopters in Tasmania Virus Crackdown

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
April 9, 2020Updated: April 9, 2020

People in Tasmania who flout stay-at-home rules over the Easter holidays can expect to face the full force of the law, Premier Peter Gutwein says.

He delivered the blunt message on April 9 amid an outbreak of COVID-19 across two hospitals in the state’s northwest.

“To be frank, today the gloves come off. We are going to police this. The period of education is over,” Gutwein said.

“If you go to a shack and you don’t have a reasonable excuse to be there, you will be asked to leave. If you don’t, you will be summoned and charged.

“Do not be surprised if you face the full front of the law over this weekend.”

Helicopters will take to the skies to make sure people aren’t travelling unnecessarily, Gutwein said.

Fines of up to $16,800 or six months’ jail apply for those who break the law.

An increased police presence will patrol the northwest, where 23 virus cases have been linked to the North West Regional Hospital or North West Private Hospital in Burnie.

Fifteen healthcare staff across the two hospitals have tested positive, along with a handful of patients.

About 60 staff from the two facilities have been stood down to mitigate the outbreak.

Nine new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Tasmania on Wednesday night, taking the state’s tally to 107, although 48 people have recovered.

Visits to all hospitals and aged care homes are banned, bar some exemptions including for end-of-life care.

Three elderly people, who were all passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, have died from the virus in Tasmania.

By Ethan James