Coronavirus facts

Last Updated: 31 Mar 2020 4:39pm

Last update: 27 Nov 2020 9:24am

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illness in humans and others cause illness in animals, such as bats, camels, and civets. Human coronaviruses generally cause mild illness, such as the common cold.

Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect and spread among humans, causing severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which emerged in 2002, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which emerged in 2012.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of coronavirus that is causing disease in humans and spreading from person-to-person. The name of the disease is COVID-19.

What we know about COVID-19?

The current COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. We are still learning about how this new virus spreads and the disease it causes. We know:

  • the virus causes respiratory disease that can spread from person to person
  • most people experience mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath
  • some people experience severe illness and, sadly, a small proportion die
  • older people and people with underlying medical conditions seem to be more at risk of severe illness
  • there is no treatment for COVID-19, but medical care can treat most of the symptoms – antibiotics do not work on viruses
  • a vaccine is currently not available.

How does it spread?

The virus most likely spreads through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s uncovered cough or sneeze (if you are within 1.5 metres or two large steps of an infected person)
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs, sink taps and tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever (or signs of fever, including chills or night sweats)
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sore/itchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 can also present with the following symptoms that can occur on their own or combined with the other symptoms: headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consider a COVID-19 test as part of managing your illness. Call the Public Health Hotline (1800 671 738) or your GP for more information.

If you become very unwell or have difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

For more information go to Testing for COVID-19.

Who is most at risk?

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and those who are 70 years and older have substantial risk. There are also some medical conditions that may increase risk:

  • People on immune suppressive therapy following organ transplant
  • People who have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months or are on immune suppressive therapy for graft vs host disease
  • People with blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome diagnosed within the last five years
  • Those having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considered to be at higher risk in public health emergencies. Specific advice is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities.

You may be at risk of moderate illness if you have other chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, cancer and kidney failure. For more information refer to the Australian Government Department of Health's Advice for people at risk of coronavirus.

Why not test people who don't have symptoms?

Testing people for COVID-19 is important to stop the spread of the disease in the community. Testing identifies people who have the virus, and isolating those people stops them passing it on.

To be most effective, the focus of testing in Australia – especially in areas where the virus is not spreading in the community – is on people who have any cold or flu-like symptoms, even mild. When COVID-19 is not spreading in the community, testing people without symptoms is not an efficient or effective way to find rare cases.

The main reason for targeting people with symptoms is that they are more likely to have COVID-19 than people without symptoms. People with symptoms are also more likely to pass the virus on to other people than those who don’t.

Sometimes testing is recommended for people who don’t have symptoms. For example, if there is an outbreak, people who may be at risk in the same setting or community (including healthcare workers and aged care workers) may be targeted for testing, along with contacts of confirmed cases.

Tasmania’s approach to testing people for COVID-19 is like the approach used interstate and is based on recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. That Committee is made up of Chief Health Officers from around Australia and is the main national expert committee advising on COVID-19 in Australia. That committee itself is advised by groups of national experts on communicable disease control and laboratory testing.

Is there a vaccination or proven treatment for COVID-19?

Read more about the progress of treatments and vaccines against COVID-19

Last update: 19 Jan 2021 2:31pm

Greater Brisbane LGA update

Published 18 January 2021

Public Health Services have advised that the Greater Brisbane Local Government Areas (LGA’s) of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redland and Logan transitioned from high-risk areas to medium-risk areas as of 3pm today (Monday 18 January 2021).

Travellers who have arrived in Tasmania from or after 9am Friday 8 January (and have been in one of these local government areas) will still need to complete the 14 day quarantine requirement.

In line with medium-risk area requirements, anyone intending to travel to Tasmania, who has been in any of the Greater Brisbane LGA’s in the 14 days before their arrival, will be required to undertake 14 days quarantine on arrival. Some exemptions can apply for travellers approved as an Essential Traveller. Travellers are required to quarantine, either in a suitable premises or in government-designated quarantine (fees can apply) see medium-risks areas for more information.

The most effective way of providing information about an intended quarantine location is via the G2G pass system. Where possible, travellers are encouraged to do this at least three (3) business days before arrival and not more than 14 days before travel.

Contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange testing if you experience any cold or flu symptoms at any stage.

Travellers to Tasmania transiting via Brisbane Airport

Updated 18 January 2021

The Greater Brisbane area is currently classified as a medium-risk area by Tasmanian Public Health Services. People from these areas cannot enter Tasmania unless they are approved as an Essential Traveller.

Domestic travellers from low-risk areas (including those outside of the Greater Brisbane area) who are currently booked on flights leaving from Brisbane airport are permitted to enter Tasmania without the requirement to quarantine on arrival, provided they:

  • have transited through a medium area (for example Greater Brisbane area) to an airport or seaport by vehicle, only stopping for fuel, or;
  • arrive directly into an airport on a flight and do not leave the airport except on another flight.

For more information about travelling to Tasmania see Coming to Tasmania.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches LGA to move to medium-risk

Published 09 January 2021

The Tasmanian classification of the NSW Northern Beaches Local Government Area (LGA) will change from high-risk to medium risk – the same as other LGAs in the Greater Sydney region – from 12.01am Sunday 10 January 2021.

The change coincides with the NSW government lifting the lockdown on the northern part of the Northern Beaches LGA, and applying the same restrictions to this area as elsewhere in the Greater Sydney Region from tomorrow (Sunday).

Travellers who have spent time in a medium-risk area in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania may enter Tasmania but are required to quarantine for 14 days.

QLD contact tracing

Published 07 January 2021

A number of premises visited by a confirmed COVID case have been identified in Brisbane, Queensland today.

If you have been in Queensland since January 2, please check the latest contact tracing list on the Queensland Health site at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/contact-tracing

If you have been at any of the locations at the identified dates and times please self-isolate and contact the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

This is a developing situation and this list may be updated as investigations progress, please check the list daily.

Visit the Travel Alert page to see additional information for travellers who have spent time in an affected premises or area.

Mobile testing clinics update

Published 04 January 2021

Mobile COVID-19 testing clinics are scheduled for January in St Helens, Strahan, Queenstown and Swansea. These drive-up clinics are free and no bookings are required. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, don’t wait for a mobile testing clinic to come to you. To find other testing options, visit the testing.

Date

Location

Opening hours

Notes

9 and 10 January 2021

St Helens Recreation Grounds – Tully St, St Helens

10 am – 3 pm

No bookings required, drive up testing

15 January 2021

Strahan Recreation Centre – 1-3 Gaffney St, Strahan

10 am – 3 pm

No bookings required, drive up testing

16 January 2021

Queenstown Basketball Stadium – Esplanade, Queenstown

10 am – 3 pm

No bookings required, drive up testing

22 and 23 January 2021

Swansea – adjacent to the Glamorgan/Springbay State Emergency Service Unit at 76 Maria Street Swansea

10 am – 3 pm

No bookings required, drive up testing

29 and 30 January 2021Smithton Recreation Ground10 am – 3 pm

No bookings required, drive up testing

Information for people transiting through NSW to access airports or seaports in Victoria

The Victorian Government has travel restrictions in place for people wanting to enter the State from NSW. For people wanting to transit through NSW to access Victorian airports or seaports an entry permit is required.

For the latest Victorian information on entry permits visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-border-crossing-permit or phone the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and press two (2) when prompted.

Wollongong Local Government Area added to medium risk areas

Published 01 January 2021

The Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) in NSW will be classified as a medium-risk area effective from midnight tonight (Saturday January 2).

This area joins the Greater Sydney area as a medium-risk area.

The Northern Beaches LGA remains a high-risk area.

This change means that from midnight tonight, anyone who travels to Tasmania from the Wollongong LGA or the Greater Sydney area will have to quarantine for 14 days from arrival in Tasmania -  unless approved as an Essential Traveller.

Quarantine can be undertaken at a suitable residence, or for those without a residence, at a Government quarantine hotel at their own expense.

The rest of NSW will remain a low-risk area for now.

Anyone currently in Tasmania who has been in the Wollongong LGA on or after 18 December 2020 should contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

Anyone intending to travel to Tasmania who has been in the Wollongong Local Government Area since December 18 (or another medium-risk location), your Tas e-Travel pass will be cancelled and you will need to reapply.

Travellers who have arrived in Tasmania having spent time in New South Wales since Sunday 6 December are asked to continue to check the list of exposure risk sites at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/case-locations-and-alerts.aspx .

Hobart testing clinic update

Published 26 December 2020

The Department of Health advises that the Hobart COVID testing clinic will go back to a booking system as of tomorrow, Sunday 27 December 2020.

This follows a higher than anticipated response to the no booking trial that began on Christmas Day.

The change only impacts Hobart with no bookings required for the other clinics state-wide (Launceston, Burnie and East Devonport) during the three-week trial.

To book an appointment at the Hobart testing clinic call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

The hours of operations of the COVID-19 testing clinics over the Christmas and New Year period are:

Sunday 27 to Thursday 31 December (Hobart, Launceston and Burnie) – 8:30am to 3.30pm

Sunday 27 to Thursday 31 December (East Devonport) - 7.30am to 2.30pm

Friday 1 January (all clinics) – 8:30am to 11:30am

All COVID-19 testing clinics will return to normal hours of operation from Saturday 2 January 2021.

Further information see Testing for COVID-19

Trial of no bookings for COVID-19 at testing clinics state-wide

Published 23 December 2020

The Department of Health have announced that from 25 December 2020 no bookings will be required at the Hobart, Launceston, East Devonport and Burnie COVID-19 testing clinics as part of new trial.

For three weeks (from December 25) bookings will not be required at the four drive through testing clinics state-wide for people needing a COVID-19 test.

Testing is free and everyone is encouraged to get tested if they have any symptoms even mild ones.

See Testing for COVID-19 for more information.

Greater Sydney Region declared medium-risk

Published 19 December 2020

Public Health has declared the Greater Sydney Region a medium risk area (other than the Northern Beaches Local Government Area and specific premises which remains as High Risk).

Travellers arriving in Tasmania from 12.01am on December 20 2020, who have spent time in a medium-risk area in the 14 days prior to arrival, will be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, either in a suitable premises or in government-designated quarantine (fees can apply).

Travellers who have already registered their travel through the Tas e-travel system will have their registration cancelled and they will need to re-apply.

Travellers already in Tasmania who have been in the Greater Sydney Region in the 14 days prior to arrival should monitor their symptoms and contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange a test if you develop any cold or flu symptoms.

Travellers should also regularly check the NSW Government Health website to monitor the list of locations classified identified by NSW Health as a risk for exposure to COVID-19 and requiring action associated with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Travellers who have been at any of the identified NSW locations at the specified times should contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for advice.

For more information, see Travel Alert

Information for people wanting to enter Tasmania who have been in a high-risk area or premises

Published 18 December 2020

Travellers who have been in identified high-risk areas or premises during the specified dates and times must have prior approval to enter Tasmania. Applications to enter the State as an Essential Traveller for critical work, health, compassionate or other reasons can be made through the G2G system.

Tasmanians wanting to return home can apply through G2G and provide evidence of residency and seek to complete the 14 days required quarantine at a residential address or other suitable premises.

If granted Essential Traveller status, conditions will include undergoing a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and being subject to compliance checks while in quarantine.

Conditions can also include the requirement to undertake quarantine in government-designated quarantine. The quarantine fee will be waived for people who travel to Tasmania from newly declared high-risk areas and premises in NSW between 16 and 23 December and are required to quarantine in government-designated accommodation.

NSW Northern Beaches Local Government Area declared high-risk area

Published 18 December 2020

The Northern Beaches Local Government Area in NSW has been declared a high-risk area by Public Health.

Travellers who have been in this area or any of the three listed high-risk premises in the NSW suburbs of Kirribilli, Peakhurst or Penrith during the specified times are not permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved as an Essential Traveller.

Anyone already in Tasmania who has been in this area or visited these premises is asked to self-isolate immediately and call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to book a COVID-19 test (the hotline has extended their operating hours for today and tomorrow and will be open from 8am to 9pm on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 December). Travellers should advise the hotline that they have been in the identified area or an identified premises.

If you have completed a Tas e-Travel registration and identified you will have been in NSW since Friday 11 December 2020, your pass will be cancelled and you will need to reapply via the G2G PASS website.

For further information see Travel Alert.

COVID-19 testing clinics opening hours over the Christmas and New Year’s period

Published 16 December 2020

The Department of Health advises the opening hours of the COVID-19 testing clinics will change over the Christmas and New Year’s period.

The hours of operations of the COVID-19 testing clinics in Hobart, Launceston, East Devonport and Burnie during this period will be:

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 December (all clinics) – 8:30am to 11:30am

Sunday 27 to Thursday 31 December (Hobart, Launceston and Burnie) – 8:30am to 3.30pm

Sunday 27 to Thursday 31 December (East Devonport) - 7.30am to 2.30pm

Friday 1 January (all clinics) – 8:30am to 11:30am

All COVID-19 testing clinics will return to normal hours of operation from Saturday 2 January 2021.

For more information call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or see Testing for COVID-19

Changes to dancing, standing and drinking alcohol and household gathering restrictions

Published 10 December 2020

Public Health advise that dancing and standing and drinking alcohol will be permitted by up to 100 people at indoor venues and 250 people in outdoor venues from 5pm Friday 11 December 2020.

The limitations on who or how many people can dance at weddings will also be eased within parameters.

If the existing density limit of one person per 2 square metres allows, there can be additional patrons in the indoor venue or an outdoor area, as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol or dancing.

The upcoming changes do not alter the current number caps for non-residential premises – 250 in an indoor space and 1000 outdoors - or the requirement of at least 2 square meters per person.

In addition to these changes, from Friday 11 December, household gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted.

When you are hosting a gathering at home, make sure there is plenty of room to spread out, have soap and hand sanitiser available, and most importantly, stay home if you’re unwell.

New COVID case in quarantine

Published 10 December 2020

Public Health have confirmed another person in an international quarantine hotel in Hobart has tested positive to COVID-19.

The man is from the same family as yesterday’s cases and arrived on the repatriation flight from Delhi on Sunday 6 December 2020.

The man was retested after reporting mild symptoms.

He is being moved by ambulance to the dedicated facility at the Fountainside Hotel, following onsite clinical assessment at the Best Western.

No staff involved in the arrival, transport or quarantine of the family have been isolated, as Public Health advice is that all interactions have been in accordance with the infection prevention and control protocols.

All international arrivals have been treated as potentially infectious COVID cases since arriving in Tasmania with appropriate infection prevention and control measures in place at all times.

Another round of testing will be conducted over days 10-12 of quarantine, unless individuals experience symptoms, in which case they will be tested immediately.

Public Health have expected COVID-19 cases in quarantine because of the higher-risk posed by international travellers. The identification and management of these cases demonstrates that the processes and practices developed for quarantining arrivals from overseas is working.

There is currently no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Tasmania.

However, it’s important that Tasmanians continue to practice behaviours that reduce the risk of COVID-19.

This means maintaining physical distance, cover your coughs and sneezes, observe the COVID restrictions and safety plans in place, stay home if you’re unwell, and get tested if you have any symptoms no matter how mild.

COVID-19 North West Outbreak Independent Review Report

Published 9 December 2020

The final report from the Independent Review into the COVID-19 outbreak at healthcare facilities in the North West region of Tasmania has been released.

The Independent Review was established to look into the cause of the outbreak and ensure the best possible systems and practices are in place in the event of future outbreaks.

A total of 37 recommendations were made which has been accepted by the Tasmanian Government either fully or in-principle.

A copy of the full report can be found at the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.

COVID cases in quarantine

Published 9 December 2020

Public Health have confirmed three recent international arrivals, in an international quarantine hotel in Hobart have tested positive to COVID-19.

Finding COVID cases in hotel quarantine was not unexpected. Identifying and managing these cases demonstrates that the processes and practices developed for quarantining arrivals from overseas is working.

The woman and two children are from the same family and arrived on the repatriation flight from Delhi to Hobart on Sunday 6 December 2020.

The positive results were returned as part of routine testing being undertaken in all international quarantine hotels. Due to the ages of the children, the family will be moved by ambulance to the Royal Hobart Hospital to enable more thorough clinical assessment and supervision.

This will determine whether they will be moved to the dedicated facility for international arrivals who test positive for COVID-19 at the Fountainside Hotel.

At this stage, no staff involved in the arrival, transport or quarantine of the family have been isolated, as Public Health advice is that all interactions have been in accordance with the infection prevention and control protocols.

All international arrivals have been treated as potentially positive COVID cases since arriving in Tasmania. Another round of testing will be conducted over days 10-12 of quarantine, unless individuals experience symptoms, in which case they will be tested immediately.

There is currently no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Tasmania.

However, it’s important that Tasmanians continue to practice behaviours that reduce the risk of COVID-19.

This means maintaining physical distance, cover your coughs and sneezes, observe the COVID restrictions and safety plans in place, stay home if you’re unwell, and get tested if you have any symptoms no matter how mild.

South Australia to be classified as a low-risk area from Thursday 3 December 2020

Published 1 December 2020

Public Health has advised that South Australia (SA) will be classified as a low-risk area from Thursday 3 December 2020.

Travellers who have only spent time in low-risk areas in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania are not required to quarantine.

Anyone who is currently in quarantine based on time spent in SA before their arrival will be able to leave quarantine on 3 December.

The only exception to this is where a traveller has spent time in a high-risk location within SA, specifically:

  • Woodville High School, St Clair - Year 9 students and specific staff members anytime between 23 and 24 November 2020

Travellers who have been at this location during the specified time will not be able to enter Tasmania without the approval of the Deputy State Controller. The most effective way of doing this is via the G2G system.

Anyone already in Tasmania who has visited these locations is asked to call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange a COVID-19 test. Travellers should advise the hotline that they are in quarantine and have been at one of the identified locations.

People arriving in Tasmania from SA from 3 December should now register their travel and contact details via the Tas e-Travel system to receive a Tas e-Travel QR code.

Up to 250 people now permitted to stand and drink outdoors in licensed premises

Published 1 December 2020

Changes to the Management of Premises Direction now allow a maximum of 250 people (within current density requirements) standing and drinking alcohol in designated outdoor spaces of premises with a liquor licence or liquor permit.

If the density limit of one person per 2 square metres allows, there can be additional patrons in the outdoor area as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol.

Patrons in indoor parts of the premises or event can only consume alcohol while sitting down, subject to density requirements.

This cap on the number of people permitted to stand while consuming alcohol at these outdoor spaces is required because the Events Framework enables larger gathering of patrons at events. Large numbers of people mixing freely and closely while consuming alcohol are very high risk settings for spreading COVID-19.

Direction released to implement Events Framework

Published 1 December 2020

The Mass Gatherings Direction has been released to provide a legal basis for A Framework for COVID Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Government released the Framework in October to supports organisers to plan COVID-safe gatherings from 1 December 2020 that exceed the current gathering limits.

Depending on the risk profile of the event, it will be classed as Level 1, 2 or 3, and different controls will apply depending on the level.

More information on the Framework is available here

The Framework will be reviewed over time as the rules for mass gatherings and events are updated to reflect the changing COVID-19 situation in Tasmania. The Framework will enable organisers to apply to hold an event under one of three levels.

Additional premises and business required to collect patron information from 15 December 2020

Published 1 December 2020

An expanded list of premises and business will be required to collect information of patrons who enter and remain on the premises for at least 15 minutes.  

This will allow for the rapid identification of people who may have been exposed to COVID‑19 if a case is present.

For the full list of premises and businesses the Contact Tracing Direction will apply to see Contact Tracing.

Owners and operators need to ensure patron information is directly accessible by the Director of Public Health.

For guidance on how to meet contact tracing obligations visit www.business.tas.gov.au/coronavirus_information/contact_tracing

Check in Tas App now available for download

Published 1 December 2020

The new app system to assist recording of patrons contact details is now available for download. The Check in Tas app is available from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The app helps protect the community by assisting with faster contact tracing. It enables individuals to check-in to venues and have this data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.

The new app is designed to assist venues meet the Public Health requirement to record contact details of individuals or one member of a group of patrons who spend more than 15 minutes on the premises.

Use of the Check in Tas app is free to venues and patrons. For further information visit the Department of Health website.

Extension of the COVID-19 Residential Tenancy Emergency Period

Published 25 November 2020

The Tasmanian Government has announced the extension of the COVID-19 Residential Tenancy Emergency Period.

The emergency period was due to expire on 1 December, and has now been extended until 31 January 2021.This extends the existing protections in place to assist tenants and landlords who have been affected by COVID-19.

Financial Support for tenants and landlords have also been extended. To apply online or find out more, see the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) website or call 1300 654 499.

Travellers from South Australia Update 3pm Monday 23 November

Published 23 November 2020

People are no longer required to self-isolate if you arrived in Tasmania before 5:30pm on 16 November and you had spent time in South Australia in the previous 14 days.

Travellers in this category, currently self-isolating, and not experiencing symptoms or awaiting COVID-19 test results can now end their self-isolation period.

However, if waiting for a COVID-19 test result please stay in self-isolation until you get a negative result. This decision is based on the latest information showing extensive testing in South Australia over the past week has not detected any wider transmission occurring in the SA community during the week before 16 November.

Travellers who spent time in South Australia in the 14 days before their arrival in Tasmania and who arrived after 5:30pm on 16 November are required to remain in quarantine until they have completed 14 days quarantine or advised otherwise by Public Health.

If experiencing symptoms, contact the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738 and advise that you are currently in quarantine.

Travellers in quarantine can choose to leave Tasmania if they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If leaving Tasmania, travellers need to travel straight to a port of departure, without stopping on the way. Private transport should be used if possible. If using public transport, travellers should wear a mask and practice good hand hygiene. For further information, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

At this stage South Australia remains a medium-risk area. Travellers intending to travel to Tasmania, who have spent time in South Australia in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania, will be required to enter quarantine on arrival. If intending to travel, you are required to use the G2G system.

International Seasonal Workers recruitment

Published 7 November 2020

Tasmanian agricultural businesses who are approved employers under the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), can now apply to recruit workers from some overseas locations, to supplement the local workforce.

To be permitted to source international workers, Tasmanian agricultural businesses must demonstrate that they have already attempted to recruit from within Tasmania and have a critical need for more workers.

If approved, these workers can arrive in Australia from overseas and transit directly to Hobart via an interstate airport to complete 14 days quarantine in Government-designated accommodation. Testing and safety protocols will apply.

For more information and to apply, visit the DPIPWE website.

International mercy flights

Published 7 November 2020

Tasmania will assist in the national effort to help vulnerable Australians overseas return home with a number to undertake their quarantine in Tasmania from later this month.

Upon arrival in Tasmania, travellers will undertake 14 days quarantine in Government-designated hotel quarantine facilities with services provided to ensure security on site as well as health and other services for the returning Australians while they are in quarantine. COVID-19 testing will be undertaken of all travellers prior to their arrival in Tasmania.

Travellers will include people who are in poor health, have lost their jobs, have exhausted their finances, have limited English or are returning home for compassionate reasons.

Once their quarantine is complete, travellers will be able to leave Tasmania if they wish, within the border restrictions of other jurisdictions.

While also enabling the safe return and quarantining of Australian citizens, this approach also recognises the recent successful quarantine of international Antarctic expeditioners. This process demonstrated Tasmania's capacity to provide the security, support services and infection control practices required to manage high-risk arrivals.

Aged care visitor restrictions eased for travellers from low risk areas

Published 26 October 2020

From Monday 26 October, travellers from low risk areas can visit Tasmanian residential aged care facilities under the same conditions in place for Tasmanians.

Those conditions are:

  • No more than two people can visit each resident at any time
  • Visits must take place in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a non-communal area, as designated by the facility
  • Visitors must not have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever (higher than 37.5 degrees), signs of fever (eg chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, runny nose; or shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell
  • Unless an exemption has been granted visitors must not be in quarantine. That means they must not have:
  • been in an area identified as medium or high-risk for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days
  • had contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19, within the previous 14 days (except as part of their employment while wearing effective personal protective equipment).
  • All visitors must have had the 2020 influenza vaccine, unless they have evidence that they cannot safely have the vaccine for medical reasons.

Travellers from medium and high risk areas in quarantine can seek exemption to visit aged care facilities on a case-by-case basis if they are well and seek to provide end-of-life support to a family member or other significant person.

Keeping elderly people safe from COVID-19 remains a high priority and residential aged care services are still required to screen all visitors to aged care facilities.

New SMS system enhancing quarantine compliance checking

Published 25 October 2020

Travellers in home quarantine can opt in to use SMS technology to confirm their location as part of compliance checks from 26 October 2020.

The new technology will enhance, rather than replace, the physical compliance checks that have been conducted by Tasmania Police and other authorised officers since March this year.

SMS messages will be sent to those in quarantine via Whispir, a secure communications platform already used successfully by Tasmania Police.

If the recipient opts in via SMS, mobile phone location services will be used to pinpoint their location. They will not be live tracked - their location will be provided on a map image when they click on the link in the SMS.

COVID-19 response plan for disability service providers

Published 13 October 2020

A plan to provide guidance to the Tasmanian disability service sector in relation to the management of COVID-19 has been released by the Tasmanian government. The Tasmanian Coronavirus Disability Service Providers Preparedness and Response Plan is a resource for disability service providers.

The Plan provides guidance material to disability service providers to help ensure they are prepared for, and can manage, the impacts of COVID-19 for their organisation, the people with disability they work with and their staff. It presents operational guidance on managing and preventing the transmission of COVID-19 for people with disability and also links to relevant resources and information sources.

For more information about the plan, visit: www.communities.tas.gov.au/disability

Additional COVID-19 symptoms

Published 9 October 2020

It is important to get tested if you have or have had any of the following symptoms in the past 7 days, even mild: fever (or signs of fever, including chills or night sweats), runny nose, cough, sore/itchy throat, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 can also present with the following symptoms that can occur on their own or combined with the other symptoms: headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consider a COVID-19 test as part of managing your illness.

For more information visit Testing for COVID-19.

Advice for hay fever symptoms

Published 28 September 2020

Hay fever can be caused by allergies to pollen from some flowering plants and is more common in Tasmania during spring and summer.

Hay fever also has the same symptoms as a cold, flu and COVID-19, so it is hard to tell them apart without testing.

If you have hay fever symptoms, even mild symptoms, it’s important you get tested for COVID-19.

If your result is negative, see your GP about managing your symptoms and ask for a certificate or letter so you can go back to work or school.

For more information visit Testing for COVID-19.

Changes to outdoor gathering limits

Published 18 September 2020

Outdoor gatherings of up to 1000 people will be permitted from Friday 25 September.

The change to outdoor gathering numbers is based on Public Health advice which recognises that the COVID-19 risk is stabilising across Australia, as well as the lower risk of outdoor events, compared to indoor events.

Maximum density limits of two square metres of space per person will continue to apply for all outdoor and indoor gatherings. Indoor gathering limits remain at 250 people.

WorkSafe Tasmania is developing a template to help event organisers create COVID-19 Safety Plan for their events.

This practical tool will support organisers of all types of events; and will help them consider changes to the COVID-19 risk in Tasmania over time. Venue owners and operators are also required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Event organisers should also include in their planning for the possibility that their event may need to be postponed or cancelled if the COVID-19 situation in Tasmania (or other parts of Australia) changes.

For more information see Gatherings, density and physical distancing.

Business Growth Loan Scheme now open

Published 15 September 2020

The Tasmanian Government has announced a $60 million Business Growth Loan Scheme.

The scheme provides businesses with concessional loan funding to adapt and transition to sustainable post-COVID operating models.

Loans from $20,000 to $3 million are available for eligible businesses and new projects. The scheme is open for 12 months or until all funding has been fully allocated, whichever occurs first.

For more information visit the Business Tasmania website or call 1800 440 026.

Pandemic leave disaster payment now available for Tasmanians

Published 26 August 2020

The Australian Government has extended Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment arrangements to include Tasmania.

Tasmanian workers are now eligible for a $1,500 lump sum payment if they cannot work because they need to self-isolate or quarantine.

If an individual is instructed by a health official to stay home from work, and has used up all their sick leave entitlements, including any special pandemic leave, they may be eligible to make a claim. People may also be eligible if they’re the parent or guardian of a child aged 16 or under who is a close contact or has tested positive for COVID-19.

Tasmanian workers are eligible for the payment if they are not receiving income, earnings or salary maintenance from work, receiving the JobKeeper Payment or other forms of Australian Government income support. The payment can be claimed again should an extended quarantine period longer than 14 days be instructed by health officials.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment applies from 22 August 2020. To make a claim call 180 22 66. Further information is available at http://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.

Extension of the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants

Published 7 August 2020

The Tasmanian Government has announced the extension of the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants.

The grants are being extended from 8 August 2020 to cover casuals and low-income workers who are unable to work while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

A one-off payment is available to those eligible ($250 per adult, $125 per child, with a maximum of $1,000 per household).

Applications can be made through the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738.

Last update: 05 Nov 2020 9:20am

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Resources

Find a range of Stay Healthy Stay Connected resources

Last update: 20 Nov 2020 7:15pm

The Department of Health is working closely with national health authorities and local health services, including hospitals and GPs, to prepare for more cases and identify and appropriately manage potential cases quickly. We are being guided by the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus, national guidelines that are being reviewed daily, and extensive pandemic planning undertaken over recent years.

Public Health Emergency Declaration

The Director of Public Health has declared a Public Health Emergency for Tasmania to help manage the threat of COVID-19.

This declaration provides the Director with emergency powers to implement public health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Tasmania.

You can read the Directions made under the Public Health Act 1997 on the Resources page.

Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council

The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) was established to provide advice to the Government on strategies and initiatives to support the short to medium, and the longer term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

PESRAC provides advice and recommendations on how to best mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. It will also identify opportunities for economic and social renewal.

PESRAC is made up of individuals from across the business and community sectors with experience, knowledge and the necessary resourcefulness to advise the Premier on a roadmap for recovery and the social and economic opportunities and initiatives to rebuild a stronger and more resilient Tasmania.

For more information, go to the PESRAC website.

Last update: 20 Jan 2021 9:28am

The information on this page is updated regularly.



The following information relates to the Essential Traveller Category 4: Specialist skills critical to maintaining key industries or businesses. See Essential Traveller categories for more information.

This includes time critical, specialist or locally unavailable essential workers who have been granted exemption from the 14 day quarantine period upon entering Tasmania. Additional conditions apply to Essential Travellers while in the State.

Exemptions granted on 19 January 2021

OriginNumber
Medium-risk area51
High-risk area0
Industry breakdownGranted on
19 January 2021
Total since
26 August 2020
Trade/Construction11163
Food supply/Freight074
Utilities/Infrastructure1235
Medical0133
Agriculture/Aquaculture0145
Mining/Manufacturing0140
Tourism/Hospitality028
Other (includes community, government, entertainment and aviation sectors)39161
All industries511079

As at 6pm, 19 January 2021

New Cases

Total Active Cases

Total Case to Date

Locally acquired

Overseas acquired

Locally acquired

Overseas acquired

0

0

0

0

232

Laboratory Tests Completed in the last 24 hours

Total Laboratory Tests

Cases Recovered

425

154,427

219

Hospital Inpatients

ICU Patients

Total Deaths

0

0

13

Source: Public Health Services. Data from the latest round of testing (finalised at 6pm each day) will be published by 9am the following day. Public Health Services advised there were some discrepancies in the published tests figures for the period 9 - 13 January 2021 and these figures have now been corrected as at 13 January 2021.

As at 6pm, 17 January 2021

Hotel location International arrivals
(repatriations, seasonal workers & Antarctic workers)
Travellers from high or medium-risk areas / premises Total since 30 March 2020
South 186445,003
North 0 13 2,223
North West 0 7           2,101

Source:  Department of Communities Tasmania. Statistics are updated every Monday.

Last update: 05 Nov 2020 12:16pm

Need an interpreter?

Phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and tell them your language. Tell the interpreter your name and that you’re calling the Tasmanian Department of Health 1800 671 738.

Phone your doctor or the Public Health Hotline (1800 671 738) if:

  • you feel unwell with a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, and
  • you have recently travelled outside Tasmania or had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Tell them about your symptoms and recent travel.

The Australian Government COVID-19 translated resources cover health, employment, education and general community information.

The SBS Coronavirus multi-lingual portal has content in 63 languages.

The Migration Council Australia's MyAus COVID-19 app is a free resource for Australia's culturally and linguistically diverse communities about COVID-19, its impact and available support.

Tasmanian Government translated resources

How to get tested for COVID-19 (fact sheet)

EnglishDariPersianNepali
OromoSimplified ChineseArabic 

Australian Government translated resources

Amharic Arabic Burmese Dari
German Greek Hakka Chin Hazaragi
Italian KarenNepaliPersian
Simplified ChineseTigrinya  

Australian Red Cross translated resources

Simple steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for yourself and others (fact sheet)

Amharic Arabic Burmese Dari
NepaliKarenHakka Chin Hazaragi
OromoPersianTigrinya 

Migrant Resource Centre (Tasmania) translated resources

Social distancing (fact sheet)

Amharic Arabic BurmeseDari
Haka ChinHazaragiKarenNepali
OromoPersianTigrinya 

Social distancing (Audio)

Amharic Arabic Dari Hazaragi
KarenNepaliOromoPersian
Tigrinya  

Last update: 14 Dec 2020 12:21pm

General information

About coronavirus and the national response

For the latest information about coronavirus go to the Australian Government Department of Health website.

About the Tasmanian situation

You can follow the Department of Health on Facebook for updates.

About the global situation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) website provides up-to-date advice and facts about the situation globally.

Health information

National Coronavirus Helpline

For general information about coronavirus, or if you are experiencing symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (24 hours, 7 days) for advice on what to do next. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

healthdirect website and app

Information and advice provided by the National Coronavirus Helpline is also available on the healthdirect website and via the healthdirect mobile app.

Tasmanian Public Health Hotline

The Public Health Hotline ensures Tasmanians have access to coronavirus (COVID-19) support and information.

As well as handling enquiries from the general public, qualified clinical staff are available to provide advice to health professionals.

If you feel unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (including fever, runny nose, cough, sore/itchy throat or shortness of breath), please phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange a referral for a COVID-19 test.

Stay Healthy Stay Connected

For tips on how to stay healthy and stay connected while you are staying at home, visit and follow the Stay Healthy Stay Connected Facebook page.

Stay informed

Download the Federal Government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.