News State NT News Urgent search as trio flees Howard Springs quarantine

Urgent search as trio flees Howard Springs quarantine

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Police say three people fled the Howard Springs quarantine centre early on Wednesday.
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Three people have fled the Howard Springs COVID quarantine centre near Darwin, prompting a massive police search.

Staff at the Centre for National Resilience conducted a headcount after reports emerged of “absconders” from the centre.

NT Police confirmed later on Wednesday that they were searching for three people.

“At 4.40am, it was reported that three people from the Centre for National Resilience scaled the fence and fled the area,” they said in a Facebook post.

“Police and staff at the Centre for National Resilience are currently confirming the absconder’s identities prior to releasing further information.”

Police do not know whether the group was quarantining in the international arrivals area or domestic part of the massive facility. Nor do they know if any are COVID-positive.

Police have set up roadblocks. Officer wearing masks are stopping and searching all vehicles, leading to lengthy traffic delays in the area.

Howard Springs is a large, open-air facility that is being used to quarantine Australians returning from overseas.

It is also housing residents from Katherine and surrounding areas, where an outbreak of COVID-19 erupted last month. Many of those people are from Indigenous communities in the NT.

As of Tuesday, there were 58 cases of COVID-19 in the Territory.

Earlier this week, a man in his 30s at Howard Springs was diagnosed with the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. He arrived in Darwin on a repatriation flight from South Africa last week and his positive  test came in on Friday.

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

Travellers who arrive on standard international flights into Darwin Airport are permitted to quarantine for seven days at their homes or another suitable location.

-more to come

-with AAP