A coronavirus outbreak on King Island off Tasmania has been a reason for health authorities to warn against visiting the tourist destination unnecessarily, a report said.
With around 1,600 people, the island has registered about 60 cases, and the number is predicted to increase.
Tasmanian Public Health Director Mark Veitch said the outbreak put pressure on the island’s essential services.
“While confirmed cases on the island are generally experiencing mild symptoms which can be managed in suitable premises, the fact that King Island has a relatively small population means that the outbreak places greater pressure on essential services,” Veitch said.
“Public Health Services is asking anyone who was planning to travel to King Island in the coming week to reconsider their need to travel.”
He also said that travel plans could be affected due to the impact of isolation regulations. He advised travelers to only come to the island if it is absolutely necessary for them to do so.
The outbreak started with one case who went to several events last week, unaware that they were infectious.
Health authorities sent a testing team to the island earlier this week and had not recorded a coronavirus infection back then.
Tasmania was free of virus when it reopened to the mainland tourist hotspots and its two major tourism hubs, Victoria and NSW, on December 15.
Still, King Island Mayor Julie Arnold announced that she supported the government’s ease of border restrictions. She said the tourism industry of King Island was heavily dependent on mainland Australia.
“To have done without those tourists for nearly two years has been phenomenally difficult. It had to be opened at some stage.”