By ERWIN CHLANDA
The West and East MacDonnell national parks (blue arrows above) have been declared designated biosecurity areas which means they are in effect cut off from visitors because they would have to go into a quarantine lock-up for 14 days to enter them.
This means the favourite playgrounds for Alice Springs locals during the iconic cool months of the year are off limits for them.
We have asked SecureNT and the Health Minister Natasha Fyles for the reason of this decision and will report the answer if and when we receive it.
Meanwhile SecureNT says the Ross Facility adjacent to the Central Australia Aboriginal Alcohol Programmes Unit (CAAAPU) on the Ross Highway is “a secure facility which operates separate to existing services in the area [and] has been set up to assist with the isolation of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, in two phases.
“Phase one will provide secure accommodation for suspected cases of COVID-19 who have been tested and do not have the ability to self-isolate at home, or the means to pay for commercial accommodation while they await their results.
“Phase two of the facility will provide isolation and medical care to those who test positive to COVID-19 and do not have acute symptoms that require hospitalisation.
“The 20 bed facility will provide 24/7 nursing care to patients, and in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, will be closed to the general public meaning visitors will not be allowed.”
UPDATE April 9, 1.15pm
South Australian parks are open for locals to visit.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation in Australia is constantly changing. For those who are not required to self-isolate, our parks and open spaces provide opportunities to stay active and healthy, while social distancing.
Stick to parks near you, stay up to date with government guidelines about social distancing and movement restrictions and use common sense about who you visit with.
UPDATE April 10 at 11am
Some areas in the East MacDonnells near Ross River are open.
UPDATE April 12 at 11am
Simpsons Gap national park is open and can be reached from the Larapinta Road. The checkpoint on that road is west of the Simpsons Gap turn-off.