Sydney, Australia, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Australia’s Northern Territory will maintain strict border controls with the rest of the country’s states and territories as well as international arrivals until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s chief minister Michael Gunner said on Tuesday that another 18 months of restrictions is a conservative estimate, anticipating that his administration will prepare additional resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its territory.
“We’re working towards at least an 18-month window from today towards the end of next year of how we are resourcing our borders,” Gunner said, according to national broadcaster ABC.
“My advice to every Territorian is if you can stay in the Territory. You’re safe here, don’t go,” he added.
The Northern Territory, a jurisdiction of about 229,000 residents, of which more than a quarter are Aboriginal and where more than 1,000 United States Marines are deployed, has only recorded 33 cases and no deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The state reopened its internal borders on July 17 and allows entry to residents of the neighboring states of Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, as well as Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
But it maintains a two-week quarantine period and cost for people from greater Sydney in New South Wales, and Victoria, the latter where a second wave of infections is ongoing, in addition to the suspension of arrivals from abroad.
More than 1,000 US Marines, who are deployed to the state capital of Darwin under an agreement signed in 2011, underwent 14 days of quarantine before being deployed to the Northern Territory.
Only one positive case was detected among this contingent, Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the infected Marine is under observation in a Darwin hospital.
Australia, a country that successfully managed the first wave of infections, has registered more than 21,750 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including more than 330 deaths. The total includes the 15,000 cases and 250 deaths recorded in Victoria due to the Melbourne outbreak. EFE-EPA