woman in yellow tshirt and beige jacket holding a fruit stand

Plea to wear face masks

SURGING cases of Covid-19 across Tasmania has resulted in new restrictions being applied to hospital visits and growing calls for face masks to again be mandated.

Since Saturday, visitors wanting to visit sick loved ones and friends at the Royal Hobart Hospital have been restricted to one person per day for a maximum of 30 minutes.

As of Tuesday morning, Tasmania recorded 1642 new cases overnight. The total number of active cases currently stands at 10,111 and more than 216,443 have recovered from Covid. There are currently 184 people in hospital being treated specifically for Covid. Tragically, a further two have passed away.

Acting Premier Michael Ferguson encouraged people to wear a mask if they could not socially distance, but stopped short of making it mandatory. “I’d encourage you to wear a mask when you can, test when you have symptoms and stay home when you are unwell,’’ Mr Ferguson said. “Among persons hospitalised with a Covid-19 diagnosis in Tasmania, those unvaccinated were three times more likely to die than those who had received two or more doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. “This is why the most important thing you can continue to do to protect yourself, your family and the community is to roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated when you are due.’’

Greens MP Rosalie Woodruff said the Government’s latest response was “limp’’. “The national cabinet meeting (on Saturday) is the new Prime Minister’s opportunity to take Australia’s moribund Covid response and refocus our efforts towards collective responsibility and collective benefit, to protect us from the acute and long-term social damage of unchecked respiratory viruses,’’ she said. “The serious impacts of debilitating mass Covid infection and re-infection on hospital and workforce function, chronic and long-term diseases, and social well-being cannot be avoided by the current failed focus on individual responsibility.

“The ripple effect of a single person’s infection on their absence in the workplace or the loss of a hospital bed is having damaging effects in Tasmania. Elective surgeries are being cancelled at major hospitals, and businesses and events are being forced to shut their doors.

“The Premier’s current limp ‘recommendation’ to wear a mask indoors has had no meaningful effect on levels of mask wearing in the community. “The Premier needs to lead by explaining the value of protecting ourselves and others by wearing a mask.”