Doctors call for enforced hotel quarantine for interstate travellers in Tasmania

Northern Tasmanian doctors are calling for enforced hotel quarantine for all interstate travellers among a suite of tough measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as Tasmania's number of infected people increased to 28 on Monday evening.

In an open letter to Premier Peter Gutwein coordinator Jerome Muir Wilson said the three step plan would result in a quicker return to normal economic activity than present measures.

"Our group of northern Tasmanian doctors strongly endorse the following public courses of action," he said.

1. Complete shutdown of schools, all work places, health facilities only for urgent cases, pharmacies only for deliveries for two months to give everyone certainty and stop the virus spreading.

2. Enforced hotel quarantine for all interstate travellers, recently arrived cruise ship patients and every positive for 14 days.

3. Widespread testing of anyone symptomatic, or anyone in close contact, retesting the high risk contacts three to four days later.

Dr Muir Wilson said GPs, nurses and other health professionals should be able to use private rather than just the Royal Hobart testing machine. There should be aggressive tracing of contacts and putting out any hot spots.

He said the outcome would mean Tasmanian society could be re-opened after the state was COVID-19 free for 14 days.

"We would need to maintain the strictest border measures in Australia," Dr Muir Wilson said

"We can no longer rely on trust and education as it only takes one person to ruin it for the rest of us and the 14 day clock to re start."

Dr Muir Wilson predicted the measures would result in Tasmania being by far the healthiest and most productive economy in Australia.

"Schools, workplace and society within Tasmania could get back to it's 'new normal'," he said.

He said travel, testing, quarantine and isolation measures would need to continue until a vaccine or cure was available.

Dr Muir Wilson said Tasmanians were supportive of the measures taken so far but more was needed.

The current quarantine of returned travellers for 14 days should be applauded as the only proven tactic to slow the spread is government imposed social isolation.

The northern doctors are also pushing for additional measures:

  • Impose strict fines for breaking isolation or not getting tested if asked to when symptomatic
  • Help support those who cannot work - suspend rates, levies, utility payments.

  • Support health care workers by obtaining sufficient protective equipment to look after the public.

He said the World Health Organisation was correct when it said, "remember 'speed trumps perfection - the greatest error is to be paralysed by the fear of failure'."