Giving a COVID-19 update to the public, Australia’s Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner revealed that the army was helping to transfer positive COVID cases and contacts into quarantine camps.
“Binjari and nearby Rockhole have been placed into strict lockdown in response to the outbreak, and the Australian defence force has been called in to help with transferring positive cases and close contacts,” The Guardian reported, adding, “Unvaccinated travellers will no longer be able to enter the NT from Monday under sweeping border rule changes. The only exception will be essential personnel and Territorians returning from jurisdictions where the virus is not present, called green zones.”
Chief Minister Michael Gunner stated:
It’s been a long and difficult night for a lot of people; none more so than the residents of Binjari.
- As was reported last night, there were nine positive cases taken from Binjari yesterday following the testing blitz.
- There are four females: a 23-year-old, a 38-year-old, a 39-year-old, and a 78-year-old.
- The five males are age 17, 18, 21, 31, and 47.
They are from different households; we think six in total, their vaccination status has not been confirmed yet. …
“The positive cases in Binjari are very concerning,” he continued. “… what’s more concerning is the evidence of substantial mingling between households as well as mingling back and forth between Binjari and the nearby community of Rockhole, which has about 130 residents. These communities have very strong personal and family connections. It probably helps to think of them as one big household rather than a lot of different households. For these reasons, we do expect numbers in Binjari and probably Rockhole to increase. …”
“As you know,” he stated, “last night we took urgent action to escalate our response in these communities, immediately implementing a hard lockdown. That means residents in Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their home. They can only leave for medical treatment, in an emergency, or if required by law.”
“Yes, these are strong measures, but the threat to lives is extreme,” he said.
“It’s highly likely that more residents be transferred to Howard Springs today, either as positive cases or close contacts,” he revealed. “We’ve already identified 38 close contacts in Binjari, and that number will go up. Those 38 are being transferred now. I contacted the Prime Minister last night. We are grateful for the support of about 20 ADF personnel, as well as army trucks, to assist with transfer of positive cases and close contacts and to support the communities. We’re doing an assessment today of what extra resources we might need from the feds, and the prime minister is ready to help further. I thank him and the Australian government for that. Exposure sites will be updated on the website as the contact tracing continues today. We will also keep testing and doing vaccinations in Binjari and Rockhole. We did 29 vaccinations in Rockhole yesterday, 27 with first dose.”
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