Alice Springs to enter snap lockdown for 72 hours

Alice Springs to enter snap lockdown for 72 hours

Update (12.32pm AEST): South Australian Premier Steven Marhsall has since confirmed the Tanami mine worker tested positive for COVID-19 as well as his wife and three of his four children. 

Alice Springs will go into a snap lockdown for 72 hours from 1pm today after a COVID-infected man spent an extended period in the Central Australian town's airport last week.

Though the Northern Territory reported no new cases of COVID-19 today, the state's Chief Minister Michael Gunner says he is concerned contacts at the airport may have brought the virus into the community.

The man in question is currently isolating in Adelaide with symptoms of the virus, and four out of five of his household contacts have since tested positive.

As such, Alice Springs will enter a full lockdown from 1pm today for 72 hours, with the rules applying to everyone in the town's council boundaries and town camps.

Gunner explained the man worked at the Tanami mine site and spent an "extended period of time" at Alice Springs airport on Friday 25 June.

"He arrived at the airport via a charter flight on Friday morning and remained at the airport between 9:00am and 3:50pm. He did not exit the airport. On Saturday 26 June, after returning to Adelaide, he got a COVID test. That result was not positive," Gunner said.

"However, he has since developed symptoms while isolating in Adelaide and four of his five household contacts have now tested positive. For this reason, we believe he is positive for COVID-19 and we believe that he is highly infectious.

"It is unlikely that he was highly infectious during his time at Alice Springs airport. But, like all other decisions we will not take a punt on this. We will operate on the assumption that he has COVID-19 and we will operate on the assumption that he was infectious while in the Territory."

Gunner urged people not to leave Alice Springs and has emphasised the town has ample supplies to manage the lockdown period.

"To everyone in Alice Springs, I know this is really challenging. The reason we are doing this lockdown is the size of the exposure window and vulnerability of the local population. I will take no risk with that," he said.

"To all Territorians. I woke up this morning hoping this was a day for good news and there is some good news, there is zero cases today, but we are still in a dangerous period. The Territory is still under threat."

It comes as Darwin remains under lockdown settings until 1pm on Friday 2 July after 900 workers left a mine northwest of Alice Springs on the weekend where a Victorian man had earlier tested positive.

Updated at 12.09pm AEST on 30 June 2021.


Image credit: View of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia, from Anzac Hill by Bahnfrend.

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