‘People are frightened’: COVID outbreak spreading in Central Australia

The Central Land Council is urging the NT government to fully lockdown Central Australia, and to ask the federal government for help.

Covid, Indigenoushealth

27/01/2022 4:23:00 AM

The Central Land Council has called for a lockdown in the region to reduce the spread of the virus in vulnerable communities, where many people live with complex health issues in overcrowded settings covid Indigenoushealth centrallandcouncil auspoli...

The Central Land Council is urging the NT government to fully lockdown Central Australia, and to ask the federal government for help.

The Central Land Council has called for a lockdown in the region to reduce the spread of the virus in vulnerable communities where many people live with complex health issues and in overcrowded housing.Alex EllinghausenThe NT recordedCredit:There were 84 people in hospital with the virus, 32 of them in Alice Springs.

“People are frightened, people are moving around still all over Central Australia. They’re living in overcrowded houses, you’ve got people who are positive and people who aren’t living in the same facility with 20 to 15 people in it," he said.Janie Barrett

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learn more here. Advertisement One of the country’s most powerful Aboriginal land councils has accused the Northern Territory government of failing Central Australia as COVID-19 spreads through communities, and has urged it to ask the federal government for help. The Central Land Council has called for a lockdown in the region to reduce the spread of the virus in vulnerable communities where many people live with complex health issues and in overcrowded housing. The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen “The plan was to evacuate people who had tested positive, this isn’t happening and we need a viable alternative to save lives,” CLC chief executive Les Turner told ABC Radio National. “We need a rapid response team in our communities who can go door-to-door with testing, vaccinating, health care and advice.” “The NT government has failed Central Australia and in terms of addressing the issues that Aboriginal people and key organisations in Central Australia are calling for we’re just talking to a brick wall” The NT recorded , with 78 in Central Australia. Remote communities including Yuendumu, Hermannsburg, Utopia, and Papunya all recorded further cases. A COVID-19 testing site at Katherine in the Northern Territory. Credit: Krystle Wright Cases have been recorded at every town camp in Alice Springs, and nine extra cases were recorded at the local jail – bringing the outbreak to a total of 122 cases. There were 84 people in hospital with the virus, 32 of them in Alice Springs. Mr Turner confirmed that 13 of those new cases were in the remote Aboriginal community of Mutijulu, near Uluru. He said some of them were seriously ill, and claimed the NT government would not evacuate them from the community. Advertisement “People are frightened, people are moving around still all over Central Australia. They’re living in overcrowded houses, you’ve got people who are positive and people who aren’t living in the same facility with 20 to 15 people in it," he said. Yuendumu is among the remote communities in the NT that have recorded further COVID-19 cases. Credit: Janie Barrett NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said her government made its decisions based on clinical advice and that a lockdown for all of Central Australia was not necessary. “Our public health measures are working as intended to manage COVID and flatten the curve. We are seeing a slight drop in active cases and stable seven-day rolling average case numbers,” she said. She also said there were several public health measures in place, such as an indoor mask mandate and ‘lockouts’ across parts of the NT, including Central Australian communities. Loading The federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has also used his biosecurity powers to prevent people entering or leaving some remote communities across the NT, including Yuelamu and Yuendumu in Central Australia. Mr Turner said he wanted the federal government to send assistance, such as the Defence Force, to help manage remote outbreaks. “If the NT was to ask the Commonwealth for assistance and to have the army or Defence assist with evacuations, also in terms of isolation facilities in some of these communities, and also in terms of assisting with checkpoints,” he said. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt have been contacted for comment. Save