By ERWIN CHLANDA
The two Central Australians testing positive to the COVID-19 virus yesterday are a police officer at Harts Range and his spouse – details Health Minister Natasha Fyles withheld from the public this morning despite intense media questioning.
It is likely that reports of the events circulating in town that forced Chief Minister Michael Gunner to come clean.
At a media conference this afternoon Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker and Mr Gunner did their best to put the events in a positive light.
Commissioner Chalker described the police station (pictured) as being “outside the community of Harts Range” – by about one kilometre – and that the couple had done their best to minimise contact with people on the way from Yulara, where they had landed, and the community north-east of Alice Springs.
They had refuelled their car on the way, using contactless pay, Commissioner Chalker said. He would not say where. “That’s a process for Health to undertake.”
The pair had been subjected to “despicable” treatment by persons in the community who had “made contact trying to seek the identity of that police officer and trying to get an indication if the had tested positive. That is a role for Health to do.”
“Fear and apprehension” had been created by people he did not name.
Commissioner Chalker said the pair had observed careful self-isolation, having test kids delivered and left outside their door, and returned them in the same way after use. The couple drove themselves to Alice Springs under escort.
Commissioner Chalker said efforts were now under way to “restore calmness” in the community.
The officer wants to go back to there when “he is fit and able to continue to serve them.
“This is an officer who has moved his family to a remote community to provide a service.”