News Coronavirus Trio arrested after COVID quarantine breakout

Trio arrested after COVID quarantine breakout

howard springs breakout
Police say the three people who fled the Howard Springs camp all tested negative to COVID on Tuesday. Photo: ABC News/Michael Franchi
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Three people who allegedly absconded from a Northern Territory COVID-19 quarantine facility near Darwin have been found and arrested.

Police said the trio jumped the fence at the Centre for National Resilience about 4.30am on Wednesday and fled – sparking a widespread search.

They were found about six hours later and taken into custody.

All three returned negative virus tests on Tuesday, an NT Police spokesman said.

Earlier, police blocked traffic as officers wearing face masks searched cars for the group, causing large queues of traffic.

However, police were still unable to say on Wednesday afternoon whether the trio was quarantined in the international arrivals area or the domestic part of the massive facility.

Howard Springs is a large, open-air former mining camp capable of quarantining about 2000 people.

It is being used to quarantine Australians returning from overseas, some domestic arrivals and locals linked to an outbreak of COVID-19 which erupted across the NT last month.

An NT Health spokeswoman did not know how many people were currently quarantined at the facility.

As of Tuesday, there were 58 COVID-19 cases in the current NT cluster.

Many of the infected people and hundreds of close contacts are quarantined in the facility.

Earlier this week, a fully-vaccinated man in his 30s quarantined at Howard Springs was diagnosed with the new Omicron variant.

He had arrived in Darwin on a repatriation flight from South Africa last week and his positive result was confirmed on Friday.

The incident came days after a man in his 20s escaped the facility at the weekend. He jumping into a waiting car and heading to Darwin’s nightlife area.

International arrivals on repatriation flights to the Territory are required to quarantine at Howard Springs for 14 days.

Travellers who arrive on standard international flights into Darwin Airport can quarantine for seven days at their homes or other suitable locations.