News State NT News US marine in Darwin tests positive for coronavirus

US marine in Darwin tests positive for coronavirus

The US marine is being transferred to Royal Darwin Hospital. Photo: Supplied: Department Of Defence
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A US marine has tested positive for coronavirus in the Northern Territory, the NT Health Minister has confirmed.

The marine tested positive for the virus while in quarantine after arriving in Darwin on a charter flight and is being transferred to Royal Darwin Hospital.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the marine arrived in the Northern Territory “a few days ago” and disembarked through the military side of Darwin Airport.

The soldier, who doesn’t have any symptoms, arrived on Wednesday and had “very, very minimal contact” with any Territorians, according to Ms Fyles.

The marine was in Darwin as part of the annual Marine Rotational Force hosted in the Northern Territory.

In a statement, Defence said all US personnel who arrived or interacted with the person would continue to be monitored during their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The contingent of about 1,200 US Marines has been arriving in the Northern Territory in groups in a staggered deployment since June.

The original rotation of about 2,500 marines was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds gave approval for the reduced contingent in May.

NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said he was not aware of any plans to cancel Defence deployments or the arrival of the remaining marines due to join the Northern Territory’s marine rotation by August.

“We do have these cohorts that come on a regular basis and we’ll see more coming in the coming month as we do every year with the dry season,” Dr Heggie said.

Ms Fyles said the detection of the case showed the quarantine systems in place for the marines were working well.

“Our processes worked here and when we talk about the new normal, we’ve had marine rotations for many many years, that strong enduring relationship with Defence presence going back to World War II,” she said.

“We agreed to host these rotations but with measures in place to protect Territorians.”

-with agencies