Tasmania is an island state of Australia rich in coastal terrains, exotic greenery, and fresh produce. The island is a high traffic spot for all visitors, especially if you are looking to explore a private and undiscovered part of Australia, known for its beauty and diversity. Given Tasmania's status as a small island, the population is only 537,000, while it is located at a distance of 240 km from mainland Australia. This island's privacy and location give it the perfect edge to attract domestic and international tourists alike and serve as the 26th largest island in the world.
Tasmania is notorious for its rich natural areas, which are now protected regions consisting of national parks and World Heritage sites. Apart from the natural beauty and water bodies, this area has always been rich in history and heritage when it comes to the indigenous people who initially lived here.
Corona Virus Update in Tasmania
The novel Corona Virus, or formally referred to as Covid-19, took the world by storm after the virus originated from a city named Wuhan, China, in December of 2019. The virus rapidly spread across the world due to its contagious nature, and the mass international travel only further led to the disease turning into a global pandemic.
Initially seen as a threat reserved to China's population, as the incurable disease spread across the globe and observation of an increase in cases was seen, each country started taking necessary precautions to safeguard their people.
As of today, a certain vaccine has not been curated to treat this disease leading to a sense of panic and urgency slowly spread across the globe. According to status and economic power, each country started producing game plans and disease control strategies to best fit their population.
The same situation can be observed at this island state of Tasmania in the Pacific Ocean, which, given its distance from the other continents, may seem isolated. Yet, global linkages and travel reduce safety barriers.
The first recorded case in Tasmania was in March 2020, when a passenger traveling from Iran to Launceston tested positive for coronavirus. He was tested and kept at the Launceston General Hospital, where he was treated and successfully recovered. Before coming to the hospital, the man was reportedly suffering from a mild cough since before he left Iran, indicating that he may have already been sick, and the current symptoms were the tail-end of his sickness.
The man was self-isolating before coming to the hospital, and all other passengers on the flight were seemingly fine; however, they were all required to go through corona testing. Given this situation, the Tasmanian state decided to restrict international travel and put certain border restrictions. As the island population is fairly small with not much travel during the initial period of 2020, they were considered safe. Fifty other suspected cases had previously been tested before this corona patient, out of which all tests came back negative, instilling some faith in the people and government of Tasmania.
As of today, the total number of recorded cases in Tasmania is 279, out of which only one case is still active. The total number of deaths caused by this virus is 13, whereas 215 patients have safely recovered with ease.
Moreover, given the small population of this island state, the government still carried out proper testing among suspects, travelers, or family members of corona patients. The total number of tests carried out is approximately more than 67,000. These tests are continuously being carried out until today to ensure the coverage of maximum testing ground and that no new cases can escape Tasmania's medical sector.
After two months of stability in numbers, and people testing negative for Covid-19, a new case recently emerged in July 2020. However, despite an increase in the number of patients, the situation is well under control, and the patient is in isolation to avoid further spread. It's no wonder people have begun asking the question, where to buy n95 masks?
Corona Virus Policies in Tasmania
To protect and secure the health of the residents of Tasmania, rules were put in place to control this disease's spread after its introduction through a passenger from Iran. The government carried out policies to restrict the traffic going and coming across the border, as well as controlling the air travel.
The purpose of controlling all travel, be it international or domestic, was to prevent the spread of this disease, especially protecting the aboriginal tribal residents of Tasmania who come in the older age bracket and the population with a weak immune system.
Given the coronavirus's control, Peter Gutwein, Premier of Tasmania, encourages people to restart travel through specified travel routes. Following a three-stage plan for easing the restrictions, domestic traveling is opening safe-travel-bubbles with Western Australia, Northern Territory, and South Australia.
A time period of two weeks is being put in order, to place border control at the air and seaports, to allow for efficient testing of all passengers coming through. The government is using the aid of the "Good to Go" app, which will accurately record all data and traveling history of the said passenger to ensure that they do not pose any risk to the safety of the Tasmanians.
TT-Line, which serves as the main ferry provider to Tasmania residents, will also resume action in a limited quantity, for only those who are essential travelers and have the pre-approval of the state. Similarly, as of July 31st, all essential workers at sea and airports will be tested, especially if they have had any recent contact outside of Tasmania.
Given the high-risk condition of the Australian state, Victoria, border restrictions are still in place until the situation stabilizes. Moreover, the state-provided facility for all passengers to self-isolate at hotels will also be let go off after July 31st. Any incoming travelers looking to isolate themselves will now be covering the hotel costs on their own and will be paying $2800 for the two-week course.
On the other hand, Dr. Scott McKeown, the acting Director of Public Health, said that starting from July 22nd, all incoming passengers who are quarantining at hotels, especially those from a high-risk area like Victoria, will be undergoing corona testing. The tests will be ideally carried out on days 5 and 12 of your self-isolation for more accurate results.
All current border restrictions are in place until August 7th, 2020. After the said date, there will be no requirement for Tasmanian or Non-Tasmanian residents to be tested after traveling from the specified safe zones at South Australia, Northern Territory, and Western Australia. However, the quarantine restrictions will still be in place for all travelers from high-risk areas like New South Wales and Queensland.
Given the low number of cases in Tasmania, and generally being a low-risk area for its residents, strict use of face masks was only in place for a specified population. The government gave strict instructions for using a face mask if you are a traveler or may be at high risk for having Covid-19, and if you are one of the people mandated to quarantine by the state.
If you identify as one of the people who are to self-isolate at home or a hotel, you are advised to use private transportation to avoid putting others at risk of infection. Similarly, you need to wear a mask during your entire journey until you reach your destination. It is important to wear a surgical mask and avoid touching as many surfaces as possible during your travel.
However, given the current situation in Tasmania today, it is not mandatory to wear a mask in public, and doing so will solely depend on your free will and choice. Although the government still advises residents to maintain social distancing and keep themselves safe from coming into unnecessary contact with others.
According to government advice, it is integral for you to wear a mask if you are suffering from the Corona Virus, and you urgently need to leave your home for medication or testing. Even if you are coming in contact with a Covid-19 patient or anyone who could be a potential patient, it is important to have a face mask.
Similarly, if you are going out into public places and crowded areas, it is essential to wear a mask to avoid any health risks, especially those where physical distancing may not be possible.
How to Properly Use your Mask
According to the Tasmanian government, certain guidance is given to the residents to advise them on using a mask and maintaining safety.
Read below to find the guidelines to use masks properly:
- Firstly, ensure that you have thoroughly washed your hands for the 20-minute recommended time with an alcohol-based hand wash, and your hands are fully dry.
- Then as you place the mask over your face, make sure it is fully covering your mouth and nose region. There should be no gaps in place.
- While you are wearing the mask, please refrain from touching the actual body of the mask. Only touch the tie or elastics to adjust the mask or take it off.
- In case you do touch the front of your mask, try to wash your hands immediately, and if that is not possible, use hand sanitizer.
- Do not reuse your old masks and make sure you regularly keep changing them
- If your mask gets wet or too damp, replace it immediately
- When you want to take off your mask after use, make sure you only touch the straps to do so. Put it straight in the garbage after you have taken it off.
Best Types of Masks for Corona Virus
According to health officials, the important part is to cover your mouth and nose in public. Any mask that helps to achieve this purpose is a considerable option to protect you against Corona. However, depending on the material and shape, certain masks are more superior to the others. A few options among such masks have been given below for your ease.
The surgical masks are an easy and basic mask to protect your nasal passages from germs and bacteria particles that may be traveling in the air. The mask provides an easily available and affordable option, something that almost all residents can access.
You can easily get a pack of these surgical masks, and replace your old one after each usage. These masks have elastic straps that can easily go over your ears while adjusting the front piece according to your face shape and size.
These cloth masks are available in the market through small vendors and private retailers and can easily be made at home. You can recycle any old t-shirt or cloth lying around your house to create a cloth mask. The mask follows the same outline like any other mask and mainly consists of a front piece to protect your nose and mouth, alongside the use of straps or ties that will enable you to put it on or take it off.
Ensure that the straps are adjustable to fit your face and do not leave any gaps while covering your mouth. Moreover, the cloth used should be clean and easily breathable, so you do not face any trouble while wearing it.
Surgical grade N95 respirators are relatively the best protection for you against Covid-19, although they are hard to find on the market and can be too expensive for some people. The mask is designed with certain grade material and shape to protect you from all unwanted particles in the air and filters out the air before it reaches your nasal passage.
Such masks are highly recommended for healthcare professionals and other essential workers who put themselves in the line of fire each day. All employees of the public sector who have to go to work physically should also use this mask for maximum protection of themselves and their families.