National

Tasmania shuts small airstrips to flights

By AAP Newswire

Tasmania has closed private airstrips to interstate flights as the island state ramps up enforcement of coronavirus self-isolation restrictions.

Premier Peter Gutwein has implored those entering the state to obey the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period or face tough penalties, including fines of up to $16,800.

"Tasmanians have parents and grandparents that went to war, put their lives at risk," he said.

"I'm asking people to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Surely that message can get through."

Six new cases, in people aged from their 20s to 70s, were confirmed on Wednesday night, bringing the state's total to 42.

Three of the cases recently travelled from overseas, two were on cruise ships and one is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

There remains no evidence of community transmission.

Mr Gutwein conceded community transmission was expected at some stage but said Tasmania was in a unique position compared with mainland states.

"We have one opportunity to go hard. We need to get on top of this thing," he said.

Police will randomly check on people self-isolating, have a greater presence at ports and airports, and increase efforts to track travellers.

Those coming into the state without a place to stay will be charged a fee to self-isolate in government-provided accommodation.

Non-essential travellers are being asked to stay away, and private airstrips are now off limits to interstate flights.

Meanwhile, authorities are looking into reports a small amount of personal protective equipment has been stolen from the state's hospitals.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," Health Minister Sarah Courtney said.

"If we hear or find any cases of these, we will ensure the full force of the law is brought upon these people."

Schools in the state will end term one four days earlier so teachers can prepare for greater online learning. Mr Gutwein says schools will reopen for term two after the Easter break.

The Spirit of Tasmania Bass Strait ferry service has banned people with a caravan, campervan or motorhome from entering the state, but locals are exempt.