Southern Tasmania plunged into lockdown after traveller escapes quarantine

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Parts of Tasmania have been plunged into a snap three-day lockdown after a Covid-19 positive traveller escaped hotel quarantine earlier this week.

From 6pm, the southern part of the state will face strict stay-at-home orders as contact tracers scramble to access whether the virus is circulating in the community.

"We cannot afford an outbreak and put the safety of Tasmanians, especially vulnerable Tasmanians, at risk," premier Peter Gutwein said.

The lockdown includes the Local Government Areas of Brighton, Central Highlands, Clarence City, Derwent Valley, Glamorgan-Spring Bay, Hobart City, Huon Valley, Sorell, Southern Midlands, Tasman and Kingborough.

In August, premier Peter Gutwein warned if any Covid cases appeared that the state or certain areas would face immediate lockdown, as part of the government's plan to control the spread of the virus.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein speaks to the media during a coronavirus briefing in Hobart, Monday, August 9, 2021. Source: AAP
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has announced southern Tasmania will enter a three-day lockdown from 6pm on Friday. Source: AAP

Five reasons to leave home

There will be only five permitted reasons for the residents in southern Tasmania to leave home, including shopping for urgent household supplies within 5 kilometres from home as well as attending health and medical appointments, including getting vaccinated.

Exercise will be permitted once per day outdoors within 5km of households for up to two hours, alone or with other members of the household.

Permitted workers will be able to continue working, and their children will be able to attend school if they are unable to learn from home.

'Uncooperative' infected man visits supermarket

It comes after a Covid-positive man flew to Hobart via Melbourne on Monday night without a valid border entry pass.

The 31-year-old went missing from a Travelodge hotel quarantine facility on Tuesday and was arrested hours later at a home in northern Hobart.

The man, who Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has described as being uncooperative, later returned a positive test.

View over city from Mount Nelson,  Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Source: Getty Images
The 31-year-old traveller flew into Hobart from Melbourne on Monday without the appropriate border pass. Source: Getty Images

Authorities have identified 38 primary and 16 casual contacts of the man, prior to the Woolworths store being declared an exposure site.

Seven primary contacts have returned negative tests so far and all are in quarantine.

The man, who has been fined $3000, was driven away from the Travelodge by a friend but it remains a mystery as to how he absconded.

Mr Gutwein says extra CCTV cameras have been installed at the hotel and security tightened.

Monday's Jetstar flight JQ715 from Melbourne to Hobart had already been declared an exposure site, as have several spots at Hobart Airport that night.

The man was ordered to undergo hotel quarantine as there were no flights available on Monday night to send him back to NSW.

With AAP

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