By ERWIN CHLANDA
Alice Springs is under 72 hours COVID lockdown starting at 1pm after an infected worker from the Granites gold mine was at the airport between 9am and 3.50pm last Friday, June 25.
“He did not exit the airport,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said in a live streamed media conference this morning.
The infection may be with the dangerous Delta virus. Several members of the man’s family in Adelaide have been infected.
The man was given a test on June 26 but “that was not positive”.
After developing symptoms, the man was re-tested and returned a positive result today.
“It is unlikely that he was highly infectious at the Alice Springs airport,” said Mr Gunner. “But we will not take a punt on this.”
Three areas at the airport at that time were identified as having different levels of exposure, likely defining the actions people who were there will have to take:-
People in the departure lounge and the cafe must observe 14 days home quarantine.
People in other areas of the airport must isolate and undergo a test.
The carpark is regarded as a low level risk area and just monitoring symptoms is required.
Details will be confirmed will be announced this afternoon.
Only people who have symptoms or have been at the airport on Friday should seek testing: “Our testing activity needs to be directed at those who have been at risk of exposure,” said Mr Gunner.
Everyone in the Alice Springs municipal area, as well as people from communities depending on the town for their shopping, are permitted to leave home only for purposes including obtaining essential goods and services like groceries, medical purposes, work considered essential, one hour exercise a day and caring for people who cannot care for themselves. Details are on the Covid website.
People from outlying communities are told to stay in town and observe the lockdown rules.
Mask wearing is mandatory.
NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie says waste water testing will provide important information but the equipment needed has been “delayed” and samples would need to be sent interstate for evaluation.
No explanation was given why – well over a year after the Coronavirus outbreak – the equipment is still not in place.
Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker urged people not to panic buy: “There is no shortage of food.”
The approved periods for Territory Day fireworks has been revoked, meaning the sale, possession and use of fireworks on July 1 is illegal.
Under the Dangerous Goods Act 1998, people who are found igniting, discharging or in possession of fireworks outside the approved period could face a fine of $1570.
PHOTO at top – Oscar Perri: Testing in Alice Springs this morning. Below: “Interdiction point” being set up near the welcome rock early this afternoon.
UPDATE July 1, 7am
Power and Water says “you will not be disconnected during lockdown” and requests customers to only make urgent phone calls during lock-down. Digital communications remain available.