Melbourne suburbs have been declared coronavirus hotspots by the NT’s Chief Health Officer effective immediately, after a 26-year-old Australian Open hotel worker tested positive for COVID-19.
From Thursday at 3:30pm ACST, anyone coming to the NT from 10 suburbs around Melbourne, including West Melbourne, Noble Park, Keysborough, Springvale, Brighton, Wheelers Hill, Clayton South, Heatherton and Moorabbin will be forced into a two-week quarantine at the Alice Springs or Howard Springs quarantine facilities.
Anyone already in the Northern Territory who has visited those areas since January 29 are also mandated to get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate until receiving a negative result.
In a COVID-19 press briefing Thursday, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said anyone arriving in the Northern Territory from the declared hotspot areas by plane Thursday afternoon will be given options to either return to Melbourne or undergo a two-week quarantine at the NT’s quarantine facilities at no cost.
In November 2020, the NT Government drew criticisms on its COVID-19 management plan after a bizarre series of events unfolded in Alice Springs, following an influx of travellers from SA looking to take up a free quarantine offer that expired at midnight.
The government decided on Thursday to act quickly.
“Victoria has responded very quickly to this case implementing a number of immediate public health controls to limit any spread of COVID-19,” Dr Hugh Heggie said.
“Measures include significant contact tracing, increased testing, mandatory mask wearing inside and outside, limiting numbers at gatherings and putting scheduled return to work measures on hold.
“As always, I urge the community to remain vigilant and stay informed. I will be monitoring the situation in Victoria closely and will not hesitate to take further action if required to protect the health and safety of Territorians.”
Australian Open hotel worker
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said the 26-year-old man from Noble Park in Melbourne’s southeast, worked as a “resident support officer” at the Grand Hyatt hotel, as part of the Australian Open hotel quarantine program.
He returned a positive test on Wednesday, forcing hundreds of people into self-isolation, including several tennis stars.
Mr Cheng said the man returned a negative test after working his last shift at the hotel on January 29, but later developed symptoms and went for another test.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews imposed restrictions on gathering and mask rules. He said health authorities were working on the assumption the 26-year-old man had contracted the more contagious UK variant of coronavirus and had likely infected others. But they said the man’s genomic test results were not available on Thursday.