The Northern Territory will force interstate arrivals to quarantine in hotels for 14 days — with anyone arriving after Friday night required to pay the $2,500 bill themselves.
- International arrivals are already required to quarantine in hotels for 14 days
- Domestic arrivals in the NT will be forced to quarantine in hotels from midnight Wednesday
- All arrivals will have to pay the $2,500 accommodation and food bill from midnight Friday
This week, international arrivals across the country were ordered to spend two weeks in quarantine in hotels organised by the states and territories and paid for by taxpayers.
But NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said tighter measures were needed in the Territory to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading throughout the community.
“When the threat from overseas grew larger, we acted,” Mr Gunner said.
“And I have now formed the view that the threat the rest of Australia poses to the safety of the Northern Territory is too great.”
Forced quarantine measures
From midnight on Wednesday, all domestic arrivals — apart from those excluded under essential service provisions — will be required to undertake the same forced quarantine measures currently in place for international arrivals.
“Our actions so far have stemmed the flow of interstate arrivals to the Territory,” Mr Gunner said.
“Now I want to stop that flow.”
He said from midnight on Friday, domestic and international arrivals would be required to pay for their accommodation and food, which would amount to about $2,500 per room.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak
“If you still insist on coming to the Territory, whether from overseas or interstate, you will go into forced quarantine,” Mr Gunner said.
“You’ll be made to stay where we tell you to stay, but you will pay for it, not us.
“We have given you enough notice.”
The Chief Minister said he would prefer to shut the borders entirely but was at the legal limits of what he could do.
“We are drawing a red line around the Territory,” he said.
“We’re saying to interstaters in the east, south and west, do not cross this line.”
What the experts are saying about coronavirus:
Mr Gunner said arrival numbers were dropping by the day, with about 300 interstate arrivals over the past 24 hours and very few international ones.
As at Monday afternoon, 16 overseas arrivals had been placed in forced isolation at a Darwin hotel, he said.
Arrangements have been made with 14 hotels across the Territory, including about seven in Darwin, to cater for future demand.
Your questions on coronavirus answered:
Despite the tougher border restrictions, the Chief Minister said NT authorities would not enforce the new National Cabinet recommendation that public gatherings be limited to two people.
Mr Gunner said the current priorities for police were border control and spot checks on people undertaking self-isolation at home.
“Please stick to the advice,” Mr Gunner said.
“If you don’t, we’ll move to enforcement on the two-[person limit].”
How do I get tested in the NT?
- If you can’t contact or get to your GP, but you have the symptoms, you should call 1800 008 002
- This is a dedicated NT-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) number for people who need to arrange testing only
- If you live in Darwin and need to arrange testing, call the Public Health Unit on 8922 8044
- Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home until they receive their test results
- For general advice, Territorians can call 1800 020 080