The Tasmanian government has extended the public health emergency period for another eight weeks but has said it may end the emergency declaration earlier if the number of COVID-19 cases in the Australian state drops.
Mark Veitch, the director of public health for Tasmania, announced on April 5 that the Public Health Emergency Declaration was renewed under the Public Health Act.
However, the renewal lasts only eight weeks, much shorter than a usual 12-week extension.
This is the first time the Tasmania government has taken this approach since the initial emergency declaration in March 2020.
“Our high vaccination rates have significantly reduced the risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19, particularly among those at higher risk of hospitalisation, admission to intensive care, and death,” Veitch said in a statement.
He also said that the number of hospitalisations in the state was low despite Tasmania currently having a high COVID-19 infection rate per capita.
In the latest COVID-19 surveillance report published by the Tasmanian government on March 26, the state’s total number of cases was 11,586, with an infection rate of 21 cases per 1,000 people. However, only 28 people were admitted to the hospital.
Veitch also said that there could be a drop in case numbers by the end of April.
“Measures to address COVID-19 will continue to aim to address the clinical and public health risks from the virus while minimising the risk of social and economic harms,” he said.
The director noted that with authority provided under the Public Health Act, he could end the Emergency Declaration ahead of time or prolong it beyond the eight-week period, depending on the assessment of the COVID-19 situation at that time.
As of April 6, Tasmania has 2,408 new cases with no deaths. Thirty-nine people are also receiving treatment at the hospital, with one requiring treatment in intensive care.
Currently, 98.58 percent of people aged 16 and above have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Tasmania.