News Coronavirus NT plan to end quarantine, three new cases

NT plan to end quarantine, three new cases

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says essential staff can leave quarantine to work. Photo: AAP
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The Northern Territory has detected three more COVID-19 cases as Chief Minister Michael Gunner released a plan to end quarantine requirements for travellers.

The new infections include a teenage girl from Katherine, 320km south of Darwin, who is a close contact of two infants who have also contracted the virus.

A woman in her 80s, who has links to a traveller from London, has also been diagnosed, along with a man in his 30s, who travelled to the NT from Sydney.

All are quarantined at The Centre for National Resilience in Howard Springs, south of Darwin.

It comes as Mr Gunner outlined the plan to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers to the NT from December 20.

They will be required to produce evidence of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of travelling to the territory.

Another test will also need to be taken within 72 hours of arriving in the NT and on the sixth day after they arrive.

Anyone who fails to follow the rules will be fined for breaching a health direction.

“No one gets a free pass,” Mr Gunner said.

Recent arrivals will also have to stay in high vaccination zones for their first two weeks in the territory, such as Darwin, and isolate in a suitable location if they produce a positive test result.

Unvaccinated travellers will be blocked from entering the NT except for returning residents who will have to undertake 14 days of supervised quarantine at their own expense.

The rules will apply to all travellers, whether they are from a red zone where the virus is present or a green zone that is COVID-19 free.

“From the 20th of December, the key question won’t be where have you come from but whether you are vaccinated or not,” Mr Gunner said.

He said the uniform approach would simplify the controlled-border-system and remove incentives for some travellers to to lie on border entry forms about where they had been.

The NT will also jettison rapid antigen testing for arrivals, with Mr Gunner saying they are not accurate enough and risk stretching staffing resources.

Travellers will be given a rapid antigen testing kit to take home so they can test themselves if they develop symptoms.

They’ll also have to download and use the Good To Go Now app to track their movements.

Mr Gunner said the plan would help the NT live with COVID-19, which he said could not be stopped from spreading through the community.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulates the NT for reaching its 80 per cent fully vaccinated target, according to Commonwealth data.

“Confirming you’ve officially hit 80 per cent double dose vaccination, the target in our National Plan,” he said via his Twitter account.

“Thank you to everyone who got their jab”.

NT Health believes the territory hit that mark weeks ago.

It is measuring vaccinations using a different method that shows 91 per cent of Territorians over 16 are double dosed.