IT ‘glitch’ to blame for COVID text messages, Fyles says, raising personal info storage questions

by | Apr 21, 2022 | News | 0 comments

The NT Government has blamed a technical “glitch” for sending roughly 8000 Territorians a text message overnight providing them with old COVID-19 test results, but has not explained if the practices of storing personal information would be examined.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the messages were sent out during an upgrade to the government’s IT system and that the test result information they contained were historical results with both positive and negative results.

It was unclear how that could actually happen and raised questions about the government’s storage practices of Territorians’ personal information that nobody asked her about and that she did not explain.

Ms Fyles said anyone who received one of the text messages should check the date of the message to verify whether they may or may not have COVID.

“If you did get a text message saying you’re positive and you haven’t had a recent test, please look at that date just to clarify,” she told ABC.

In a radio interview, Ms Fyles said the government was not planning to scrap the mandatory vaccination requirement, saying the vaccine was still the best way to keep Territorians safe from COVID-19, although she had previously indicated some changes to the CHO’s orders might be considered.

Some workers including government employees need to prove they are triple vaccinated as of midnight tonight.

Ms Fyles said that the NT is still in a public health emergency, that the government recently extended without providing evidence, and raised the potential for another COVID outbreak by saying that the government is putting in place measures to be able to predict it before it hits. That could result another mask mandate, she claimed.

“Any future mask mandate would likely last a few weeks and be very particular about the location and settings,” she said, mimicking comments the Chief Minister made earlier this month that have yet to come to fruition.

Ms Fyles urged Territorians not to relax too much as the daily COVID numbers had been creeping up slowly with 655 cases reported today.

“We’re seeing the BA.2 variant is more transmissible, but we’re not seeing an increase in the severity of illness presently. We’re certainly watching that closely,” she said.

 

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