Sunday Territorian 21 Nov 2021
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
News Corp Australia
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 21 2021 NEWS 07 V2 - NTNE01Z01MA A CLOSE contact of the Katherine cluster is among five prisoners being escorted to Darwin from the regional town despite it being in a lockdown and there being serious concerns about the Covid safety of the arrangement. The Sunday Territorian confirmed arrangements were being made on Friday to escort the prisoners to the Darwin Correctional Centre today. One was identified as a close contact in the recent Katherine cluster and has been in proximity of the other four detainees. A statement from the NT government said the prisoners were being moved because the DCC was the holding establishment for those remanded and sentenced by the courts in Katherine and outlying areas. Correctional Services is working very closely with NT Police and Health to ensure that all Covid-safe protocols are in place for the transfer of prisoners, it read. These protocols are governed by best practice including the wearing of PPE by Correctional Services staff, a comprehensive testing regime and an isolation strategy until the individuals do not present a risk to the general prisoner population. United Workers Union NT branch secretary Erina Early said the arrangement was concerning. This is a huge risk to my members, prisoners and Territorians, she said. It comes after questions were raised this month about the removal of a temporary Covid safety measure at the entrance of the Darwin Correctional Precinct. The boom gate, installed last year, has been removed and reinstated during lockdowns and lockouts. It controlled all entry and exit at the precinct. Prison sources said the boom gate had proven to be a critical Covid control asset. Without this position we have no control measures in place to manage the risk to the facility of community transmission and to correctly identify the vaccination status of persons entering a government worksite, one said. Close contact prisoner transfer RAPHAELLA SAROUKOS Vax up as ten new NT cases TWO Aboriginal communities have been plunged into hard lockdowns, with residents forced to stay within their properties unless seeking medical help after nine people tested positive to Covid-19. Early Saturday Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced there had been positive results in the wastewater in the Binjari community near Katherine. All residents were tested for Covid-19, with the nine positive results coming in late Saturday night. In a post on Facebook, Mr Gunner said a hard lockdown for both Binjari and Rockhole would be put into place. This means that residents must remain in their home and within their yard and only leave for medical reasons or in case of an emergency, he said. We are doing this with as much care as possible and are working with locals like Kalano. One other new case of Covid-19 was recorded in the NT on Saturday a 31-yearold fully vaccinated Aboriginal woman from Robinson River who authorities say was not infectious while in the community. It comes as Aboriginal health organisations said the increase in remote vaccinations could be attributed to the current outbreak. Sunrise Health director Michelle Farrell said the community understood the potential impacts of Covid more after the outbreaks in Robinson River, Borroloola and Katherine. But with mask restrictions eased across the greater Territory at 11am on Saturday, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT released a statement urging the community to remain vigilant. There are some great steps in the announcement, but we are concerned about the weak positive emerging in Palmerston and believe the mask mandate should have remained in place until further testing was complete, said AMSANT chief executive John Paterson. The increase in vaccination rates is pleasing across our communities, however vaccination rates did not jump by 9 per cent everywhere. As reported by the NT News on Saturday, some local government areas surged, including the Daly River region. However, Mr Paterson said many communities were still wrestling with vaccination hesitancy. Some low vaccination communities increased, others increased by much less and that may be due to staffing shortages which impacts access to the vaccination, he said. According to data released by AMSANT, 17 of 29 services have reached the 70 per cent first vaccination threshold as mandated by the NT government. That leaves 12 of our communities who are less than 70 per cent first vaccination and some of these have much lower rates than 70 per cent, Mr Paterson said. Ngukurr resident Daniel Wilfred getting vaccinated. AMANDA PARKINSON AND PHILLIPPA BUTT MORE COVERAGE NTNEWS.COM.AU 07ROADMAP TO FREEDOM
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