State rocked by first virus death

TASMANIA has recorded its first death from coronavirus..

Premier Peter Gutwein revealed the death of an elderly woman in the state's North-West at his morning media briefing today.

He passed on his condolences to the woman's family and said the coroner will investigate the her death.

Mr Gutwein said he was "extraordinarly saddened" by the news.

"Unfortunately .... this will not be the last death," he said.

"There will be more deaths as this gets away form us, there will be more families burying loved ones. Now is the time to step up and take responsibility."

Mr Gutwein said federal restrictions which limited gatherings to two people would be enforced in Tasmania from midnight tonight.

In addition, all Tasmanians will be required to stay at home for the next four weeks.

They will only be allowed outside to buy food, to go to school or work, to get essential supplies or to check on a neighbour.

Mr Gutwein said police will arrest and charge those who disobey the rules.

"These are tough measures but they are done with Tasmanian's health, wellbeing and safety as our top priority," Mr Gutwein said.

"I want to be clear: If we follow the rules, if we stay home, we will save lives.

"Let's ensure that we don't get to the same position that other countries have had to where a full social and economic shutdown is required.

"It gives me no pleasure to do this … but if we are to do all in our power to stop the coronavirus in Tasmania, we must abide by the rules."

Mr Gutwein said there were seven people currently in government-run quarantine detention.

Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch said health authorities were trying to trace the contacts of two people with coronavirus in the Devonport area for whom the cause of infection was not known.

He said the top priority at present was to delay the establishment of the disease in Tasmania, and to slow its transmission in the community.


Originally published as State rocked by first virus death