Tasmania has banned non-essential visitors from entering the state via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry in tightened coronavirus measures.
Premier Peter Gutwein said only residents and essential travellers would be able to arrive on the ferry from Melbourne from Tuesday, as he foreshadowed stricter coronavirus measures to come.
“Do not come. We will turn you around and ask you to go back,” he said on Tuesday.
Mr Gutwein said Tasmania was in stage one of coronavirus measures and a “hard lockdown” was being considered. That would mean only essential services remained open.
“I want to say very, very clearly to Tasmanians – if the advice is that we should move to more severe measures, then we will move,” he said.
LIVE UPDATE l Coronavirus
Posted by Peter Gutwein on Monday, March 23, 2020
Tasmania has 28 coronavirus cases, including six new ones overnight on Monday. None are from local transmission.
Three people who contracted the deadly virus have recovered.
The state’s Sport and Recreation Minister Jane Howlett is also in self isolation after her chief of staff was in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Townsville.
Four of Tasmania’s new cases were aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship – which docked in Sydney last Thursday. One was from the Celebrity Solstice, which docked in Sydney on Friday, and the last had recently returned from overseas.
There are nearly 50 confirmed coronavirus cases among passengers from the Ruby Princess. More than 2500 people were allowed to leave the ship before COVID-19 test results had come back for ill passengers last week.
Meanwhile, a cruise ship thought to be carrying up to 250 passengers with respiratory illness docked in Fremantle on Tuesday.
The MSC Magnifica was greeted by Western Australian police and Australian Border Force teams to ensure no passengers or crews disembarked. The ship, which departed Italy in January and is on its way to Dubai, was in WA to refuel.
Cruise line MSC has denied there are any sick passengers among the more than 1700 on board.
“There is no evidence to suggest anyone onboard may be infected with COVID-19,” the company said.
The WA government claims the vessel has given inconsistent reports about the health of its passengers.
The Magnifica visited Melbourne and Hobart last week. Passengers were not allowed to disembark in either city.