US marine tests positive for coronavirus after landing in Darwin
- US marine tested positive to coronavirus after landing in Darwin, NT
- Soldier doesn’t have any symptoms and had no direct contact with community
A US marine in Darwin has tested positive for coronavirus after being screened on arrival.
The soldier, who doesn’t have any symptoms, arrived on Wednesday and had no direct contact with the general community.
In a statement, Defence said all US personnel who arrived or interacted with the person would continue to be monitored during their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The Northern Territory plans to reopen its borders to the rest of the country – except Victoria – on July 17, after closing them during the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier in the year.
Victoria recorded 134 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday following a record 191 on Tuesday in an escalation of community transmission of cases.
That has been linked to flaws in the Victorian hotel quarantine system that Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner insisted would not occur in the NT.
Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, began a six-week lockdown at midnight on Wednesday.
Victoria will be isolated from its neighbouring states after NSW closed its southern border for the first time in a century overnight, with Tasmanian and South Australian borders to close on Wednesday night.
Mr Gunner apologised to regional Victorians for widening the declaration to all of Victoria indefinitely, given the outbreak is mostly in Melbourne.
Anyone from Victoria that enters the NT will have to go into supervised quarantine at a government facility for 14 days and foot a $2500 bill.
‘Melbourne is out-of-control. That makes it harder for the rest of Victoria to stay in control,’ Mr Gunner said.
‘That is not a risk that we, in the Territory, are prepared to take.
‘So to the rest of Victoria – I am sorry, you haven’t done anything wrong but it is my job to put the territory first.’
There was confusion on Wednesday about why the mandatory supervised quarantine at a $2500 cost for Victorians does not start for another nine days.
Mr Gunner said currently all interstate visitors to the Territory still had to go into quarantine, until borders reopen on July 17.
They can choose the location and are unsupervised, but could be forced into supervised accommodation if they breached the rules.
A 27-year-old man who breached his quarantine to go to a Darwin nightclub was among a recent spate of people caught flouting COVID-19 rules, with 121 fines issued.
Mr Gunner acknowledged the decision would be a blow to industry, which has been pushing for the borders to reopen, but said it was foremost a health crisis.
‘I know there are a lot of businesses out there doing it tough that might find it hard to believe or accept but right now we’re actually performing the best because of those early decisions that we made to make sure we stayed the safest,’ Mr Gunner said.
The hard borders for Victorians have been called for by organisations such as Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, due to the perceived vulnerability of Indigenous communities to the virus.
Council on the Ageing NT chief executive Sue Shearer said she was delighted on the behalf of senior Territorians, but acknowledged some would be disappointed about not seeing family members.
more to come