Tasmania to delay border reopening until 90 per cent vaccinated

Peter Gutwein has resigned as Premier.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said the island state will likely not open its borders up completely until it has reached a 90 per cent vaccination threshold.

Under the national plan states and territories are obliged to open up their borders once an 80 per cent vaccination target is reached, with NSW on track to be the first state to do so.

But Gutwein warned that the NSW plan to open early was “a recipe for an acceleration of the spread of the virus”.

“We do know and there is no doubt about this that if we were to relax border restrictions at 80 per cent that Covid would enter Tasmania and it would take off,” he said.

“Some people would get sick, some people would get very sick. And unfortunately, some Tasmanians would lose their lives.”

While Tasmania is still on track to reopen its borders to the rest of Australia by Christmas, Gutwein maintained that the 90 per cent target was based on Tasmanian specific modelling.

“It’s important that as we move forward and prepare ourselves for when Delta will one day be here, that we take every step that we possibly can … to protect ourselves and, importantly, vaccinate ourselves,” he said.

“We must hit these vaccination targets. It’s not a silver bullet but it will ensure that you don’t get as sick and importantly it will limit the number of people who will potentially die.”

Tasmania currently has border restrictions in place for all of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, and limited restrictions for some areas within in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Gutwein also illuminated what travel to Tasmania might look like once borders do open.

“For example, asking those who want to travel to Tasmania from states that have got significant COVID to be tested in the 72 hours before they leave and have a negative test, [and] importantly travel for double vaccinated passengers only,” he said.

“We’re also considering whether or not there are tests that need to be taken once people arrive within a short period of time and whether or not there may be a short period of quarantine depending on the jurisdiction they’re coming from.”