Public Health authorities believe there is minimal risk to the community after a 15-year-old who arrived in Launceston from Melbourne tested positive to COVID-19.
The teenager arrived at 11.30am on Friday, was picked up by a family member at Launceston Airport and taken to a COVID testing clinic on the way home, before receiving his positive result on Saturday.
He was granted approval for home quarantine as a returning Tasmanian minor and was wearing a mask for the duration of his travel from Melbourne.
Ten passengers on flight VA 1364 and about a dozen airport biosecurity and other staff were identified as casual close contacts and went into quarantine to await the results of COVID tests. All airline crew returned to Melbourne.
A parent and three other relatives were at the boy's house after his arrival and would be quarantining, and Director of Public Health Mark Veitch said it was possible that another positive case could be detected among them, but the risk of community spread was very low.
Premier Peter Gutwein said the teenager was exhibiting mild symptoms and was taken to the LGH after Public Health assessed the suitability of home quarantine, and determined a hospital setting was more appropriate.
He was discharged from the LGH and transported by Public Health to the Fountainside medi-hotel in Hobart with his father on Sunday.
Mr Gutwein said all health protocols were followed by the family and health staff.
We have no information to hand that any passengers are a wider risk to the Launceston or Tasmanian community.- Peter Gutwein
It was the first time a COVID case has entered Launceston since August when a NSW resident arrived, tested positive in hotel quarantine and was then allowed to return to the airport and depart.
During Sunday's COVID briefing, Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff also announced additional vaccination capacity for Launceston after the city and northern suburbs appeared on Public Health's "warning list" for lower-than-average vaccination rates.
Dr Veitch said it would be inappropriate to detail whether the teenager or his family were vaccinated.
He maintained that the risk to the public was low.
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"We identified biosecurity and health screening staff at the airport who were involved in processing this gentleman, we initially identified around about a dozen people but we'll probably refine that down to a smaller number of people who had a close contact with him - and they'll be casual contacts who will be quarantining for five days until they get a negative test," Dr Veitch said.
"The passengers on the flight ... were few, there were only 10. Five of those were already in home or hotel quarantine because of their arrival from Victoria, four people had actually just transferred through Victoria to come from another state to Launceston, and they were variously in homes or hotels and they're now in either home or hotel quarantine.
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"Even though those people were in the community for 24 hours after their flight, there's no prospect of them posing any risk to the Tasmanian population. And there was one other person who is also quarantining at home."
Mr Gutwein reiterated that Tasmania would soon reach a point where "we'll need to live with COVID".
The state expects to pass 80 per cent first dose vaccinations early this week, with almost 60 per cent of eligible Tasmanians aged 16 and above fully vaccinated.
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