In an appalling breach of human rights, 38 indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory have been hauled into quarantine camps by the army.
The Australian army has begun forcibly removing residents in the Northern Territories to the Howard Springs quarantine camp located in Darwin after nine new Covid-19 cases were identified in the community of Binjari. The move comes after hard lockdowns were instituted in the communities of both Binjari and nearby Rockhole on Saturday night
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced today that the “Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes,.” The five allowable reasons to avoid lockdown that he referred to are buying food and supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work, or education. It is a case of if it can’t be done from home, and to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location.
“They can only leave for medical treatment, in an emergency, or as required by law.” says Gunner, he continues that “It’s highly likely that more residents will be transferred to Howard Springs today, either as positive cases or close contacts,” adding “We have already identified 38 close contacts from Binjari but that number will go up. Those 38 are being transferred now.”
Gunner said that he had contacted the Prime Minister last night and that they are grateful for the support of about 20 ADF personnel, as well as army trucks to assist with the transfer of positive cases and close contacts – and to support the communities. He also said “We are 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 for that.”
The video below shows the Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner as he announces the news.
There are two mandatory supervised quarantine facilities in the Northern Territory; Centre for National Resilience in Howard Springs, Darwin, and the Alice Springs Quarantine Facility, Alice Springs. As stated on the Northern Territory Government website, A person in quarantine must;
- stay in the person’s allocated room, including on any veranda space allocated to the room, unless permitted by an authorised officer; and
- when not in their room, or on their veranda, residents must take all reasonable measures to stay at least 1.5 metres away from any other person in the quarantine facility, except for the person’s spouse, de facto partner, child or parent; and
- wear a face mask when outside their room unless an authorised officer permits the person to remove the face mask; and
- comply with any directions given by an authorised officer to avoid people congregating in a quarantine zone; and
- must not leave the quarantine zone in which the person’s allocated room is located unless the person is escorted by an authorised officer, except in an emergency.
Chief Health Officer Direction 52 of 2021 sets out what a person must do when in quarantine at the Centre for National Resilience and at Alice Springs Quarantine Facility. This direction is law – every person in quarantine must do what the Direction says. If a person does not follow the Direction, the Northern Territory Police may issue an Infringement Notice with a financial penalty. (Source)
The Northern Territory as of today, November 22nd, 2021, has a total of 38 “Cases” of what they deem to be COVID-19, which makes it even more blatantly obvious that the excessive new measure has nothing to do with a virus.
NT communities of Binjari and Rockhole in hard lockdown as Covid outbreak expected to worsen
Australian defence force called in to help with transferring positive cases and close contacts
The Northern Territory’s Covid-19 outbreak is expected to grow beyond locked-down areas after nine new cases were detected in the remote community of Binjari, about 320km south of Darwin.
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 NT’s chief minister, Michael Gunner, on Sunday said a 78-year-old woman was being treated in Royal Darwin hospital, while the other eight cases had been taken to the Howard Springs quarantine centre.
No new cases were confirmed on Sunday but Gunner said more should be expected in Binjari and lockdown arrangements for nearby Katherine and Robinson River were likely to be in place for several weeks.
“What has become clear to us based on the level of movement that has been happening in some communities outside of Katherine, is there is a real risk the virus has reached the connected communities further away,” he told reporters.
“Given this … we are issuing a mask mandate for communities in the West local government areas: Barunga, Daly Waters, Mataranka, Pine Creek and other areas.”
Gunner said Binjari was a “low-vaccination community” and urged people to get vaccinated against Covid.
“Binjari has a smaller population than Robinson River. Please get vaccinated, once you catch the virus that will be too late. We need you to get the vaccine now.”
Health authorities announced that five men and four women had been diagnosed in Binjari late on Saturday. It is understood the group is from several different households.
A woman from Robinson River, 1,000km south-east of Darwin, became the sixth person in her community to be diagnosed earlier on Saturday.
All 10 are Indigenous Australians aged between 17 and 78 and bring the territory’s cluster to 31 cases.
The outbreak was triggered by a 21-year-old infected woman who illegally entered the NT in late October after contracting the virus in Victoria and lying on her border entry form.
Some of the territory’s key Indigenous bodies gave their backing to Gunner’s handling of the outbreak on Sunday.
The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance and Northern, Tiwi and Anindilyakwa land councils said they were “confident that the NT government is taking all appropriate steps” to protect the communities involved.
Border rules changing
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.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from red zones where the virus is present will be able to quarantine at home for seven days but will need to have a rapid antigen test upon arrival and return a negative PCR test within 72 hours.
They must also get retested five, eight and 14 days after leaving quarantine and stay in a high vaccination zone, away from aged care facilities and remote communities.
The home quarantine requirement is scheduled to end on 20 December with rapid antigen testing extended to all arrivals.
This article was amended on 22 November 2021 to correct the names of the Barunga and Mataranka communities.Topics