The Australian government has imposed restrictions to protect remote Indigenous communities from Covid-19, Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced on Tuesday…reports Asian Lite News
In his announcement, Hunt said he has made a determination under the Biosecurity Act banning people from entering or exiting the community of Ali Curung in the Northern Territory (NT), reports Xinhua news agency.
The announcement came after Australia reported more than 4,000 Covid cases on Tuesday morning.
The intervention was requested by the NT government after Ali Curung, 378 km north of Alice Springs in the Barkly Region of central Australia, was placed under lockdown after a resident tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.
“These measures are based on the medical advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly and will help to contain the current outbreak by restricting entry into and exit from these communities,” Hunt said in a statement.
“This will assist in preventing the spread of the disease, including to neighbouring remote communities in the Northern Territory.”
Both Ali Curung and the nearby town of Tennant Creek will remain in lockdown until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.
The face mask mandate in the wider Barkly Region has also been extended until Wednesday.
However, a leading Aboriginal health clinic has called for a hard lockdown across the vast region, citing the low vaccination rate among Indigenous Australians.
Till date, only 34 per cent of Ali Curung residents were fully vaccinated against the virus.
Barb Shaw, CEO of the Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation, said a hard region-wide lockdown was the only guaranteed way to restrict movement.
“Anyinginyi is right behind AMSANT (Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory) with its call to lock down the major communities throughout the Barkly, and absolutely agree this is the only way to move to contain people movement,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.