An elderly woman has become the first person to die from coronavirus in Tasmania, as the state introduces tough policing of social gathering restrictions.
The woman, aged in her 80s, died on Monday morning in the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. They’re being provided the support and care they need at this time,” Premier Peter Gutwein told reporters.
“All Tasmanians need to accept and understand that this is not a game. This is serious. Peoples’ lives are at risk.”
The woman had been unwell “for some days“, Public Health Director Mark Veitch said.
There have now been 17 COVID-19 deaths nationally.
Mr Gutwein said anyone who disobeys the two-person-in-public rule, which comes into effect nationally from midnight on Monday, will be committing an offence and could be arrested and charged.
People have been ordered to stay home unless they are going to work or school, getting essential supplies or medical supplies, providing compassionate care or exercising.
Mr Gutwein urged people to take responsibility for their movements.
“This will be more deaths if this gets away from us. There will be more families burying loved ones,” he warned.
The order will be in place for four weeks and then reviewed.
The maximum penalty for breaching restrictions is $16,800 or six months prison, with on-the-spot fines of up to $750-$1000 in the works.
Tasmania confirmed four new cases of coronavirus on Sunday night, bringing the state’s total to 66.
Investigations are ongoing into two cases of potential community transmission at Devonport in the north.
Mr Veitch said 22 people linked to the two cases, neither of whom recently travelled overseas or on a cruise ship, are in quarantine.
Mr Gutwein urged people with holiday homes to stay in one residence and not move around the state.
Ten people have been issued on-the-spot fines for camping in banned areas.