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The Northern Territory’s new border restrictions begin: We answer all your questions

24 Mar 2020 9:58 AM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

Source: NT News

THE NT’s borders will close at 4pm today, Tuesday March 24, meaning everyone who arrives in the Territory must be quarantined for 14 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus, unless for special exemptions.

Q1: What if I see someone out who I know is supposed to be self-isolating after just arriving from interstate? What should I do?

Call the NT Public Health hotline on 1800 008 002 and report them.

Q2. What if someone gets caught failing to follow the self-isolation rules? What will happen to them?

The self-isolation rules are enforceable by law, and a fine of up to $62,800 applies.

Q3. Further to Q2, what will happen to someone caught failing to self-isolate who then turns out to be coronavirus positive? Will extra action be taken against them?

As above, you can be fined $62,800. There are no specific actions for people who turn out to have the virus at this stage.

Q4: I’m a FIFO worker working in the Territory but who lives interstate? Do I have to self-isolate for 14 days every time I return to my job in the Territory after I go home from my swing?

The NT Government held industry meetings on Monday to consult on implementation and exemptions. There will be an exemption that FIFOs can apply for. Those who get exemptions will still be required to follow certain protocols, i.e. social distancing. More information and the application process will be published today.

Q5: I’m a Territorian and have a home here. But I mainly work interstate because that’s where my job takes me. How will these changes affect me?

It depends on what your job is. Unless you fall into one of the categories described in question 12, you will have to self-isolate each time you return home to the Territory.

Q6: I live in the Territory but travel interstate regularly for medical treatment. How will these changes affect me?

You can apply for an exemption to the self-isolation rules to the Chief Health Officer if you are travelling interstate for essential medical treatment.

Q7: I live in the NT just inside the border with WA. I go into Kununurra every couple of days for supplies. How will these changes affect me?

South Australia’s Premier Steven Marshall yesterday assured people who lived in border communities they would still be allowed to cross into South Australia, so long as there were no outbreaks of coronavirus in those towns.

The NT is planning to make similar exemptions for border communities here and the people who will be able to apply for exemptions if they go to school or shop over the border (for example).

More information on who can apply for exemptions will be available in the coming days.

Q8: What if someone returns to Darwin from interstate after today and goes back to living with their family or housemates? Are the others able to come and go although they have had contact with someone who has been interstate and is now in isolation? Or do all household members now need to self-quarantine as well?

According to advice from the Australian Government, your housemates or other family members should live somewhere else if possible. If it’s not possible, the person who is in isolation should have their own bedroom and bathroom and wear a mask when home with other people.

The NT Government has also opened a drive-through testing clinic at the Manigurr-Ma Village in Howard Springs, and Territorians who aren’t sick but need to self-isolate can stay there if they need to.

Q9: What about the remote border points, such as the Tanami Highway? How will they be policed?

Police and Australian Defence Force personnel will be deployed at checkpoints on the major roads into the NT from 4pm today.

NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker warned people on Saturday that for anyone attempting to sneak into the Territory using more remote roads, that NT Police would also be using technology to monitor travellers’ comings and goings.

Q10: Is there a hotline I can call to get more information on how these changes will affect my circumstances?

Yes, you can call the NT hotline on 1800 008 002 or the national hotline on 1800 020 080.

Q11: How long will the NT’s new border restrictions apply for?

According to the Chief Minister and Police Commissioner, at least six months.

Q12: Who is exempt from having to self-isolate?

  1. People involved in national and state security and governance.
  2. Active military personnel required to be on duty in the Territory while in the Territory.
  3. A member of the Commonwealth parliament who is ordinarily resident in the Territory.
  4. Health service providers and personnel.
  5. Some transport, freight and logistics workers.
  6. Specialist skills critical to maintaining key industries or businesses or infrastructure.
  7. Emergency services.
  8. Other individuals or groups will be able to apply for an exemption to the Chief Health Officer, for instance visiting a terminally ill relative, or medical grounds, or interstate travel for essential medical treatment.

Q13. It sounds like there are going to be many people who will be exempt from the new restrictions. Will they all be checked for any signs of coronavirus when they enter the Territory though? If not, couldn’t any of them just as easily bring it into our community unknowingly?

Yes. All arrivals including Territory residents will be screened at the border.

Q14. What if I have to travel to another state with the same border restrictions for work or other reasons? Say I travel from NT to SA for two days work. It seems I’ll have to self-isolate for 14 days in SA before I spend two days working. When I’m finished do I have to self-isolate for another 14 days when I return home to the NT?

Unless your job falls into one of the exemption categories, yes you would.

Source: NT News

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