By OSCAR PERRI
A year ago when Covid-19 began to ravage the world, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated: “Governments are leveraging public communication to counteract disinformation and support policy. The efficacy of these actions will depend on grounding them in open government principles, chiefly transparency, to build trust in public institutions.”
Eight days ago News reporter Oscar Perri put five questions to NT Health which took six days to provide responses.
As these have scant relationship to one another, and are typical for the way the public is being “informed” we’ve matched them up one by one, and leave it to you to decide how well the NT Government manages to meet the OECD expectations.
NEWS: We have heard multiple reports of occasions such as this: A traveller from Melbourne heading to the Todd Facility for quarantine was on the same plane as regional Victorians coming to Alice for a holiday. Why do these people not need to quarantine, given they had lengthy, confined exposure to each-other?
NT HEALTH: Passengers on all incoming flights are screened and processed upon their arrival in Alice Springs and risk assessments are conducted in line with current border entry requirements and declared hotspots.
NEWS: Does the health department work under the assumption that people who are in quarantine have been exposed to the virus / are infected by the virus?
NT HEALTH: The Territory operates under strict border control entry requirements, which can be found on the coronavirus website.
NEWS: Given the Territory was given early access to the vaccine due to the significant proportion of the population considered to be of high risk, how is it that the Territory has the lowest proportion of over 70s with at least one jab?
NT HEALTH: NT Health has vaccinated 580 people in Central Australia over the age of 70 and not living in residential care.
NEWS: On the same point, why is the percentage of Aboriginal people in the Territory who are vaccinated lower than the percentage of the general population?
NT HEALTH: The Residential Aged Care vaccine program is managed by the Commonwealth Government.
NEWS: Is the Territory government no longer prioritising the vaccination of vulnerable people?
NT HEALTH: We are working closely with the Commonwealth government to ensure vulnerable Territorians and all aged care residents and staff are vaccinated. Vaccinations are also available at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, GP Clinics and community pharmacists. All Territorians aged 12 or above who live outside Greater Darwin are eligible for the vaccine. In Greater Darwin, children aged 12-15 are currently eligible for the vaccine if they have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 infection or if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. The remote vaccine rollout is progressing with 46% of remote Territorians who have received their first dose and 29% have received their second. This week NT Health is delivering the vaccine to communities including Elliott, Minjilang, Papunya, and Wadeye.
PHOTOS from an NT Government Covid-19 website.