Non-essential travel to remote communities across the Northern Territory must stop to reduce the risk of a coronavirus outbreak, the Chief Minister Michael Gunner said today.
In an address to media in Darwin, the Chief Minister said, from today, travel to remote communities must only be for essential services, or the supply and maintenance of essential goods and services.
This means communities will continue having access to essential health services, emergency services, and food, but everything else needed to stop, he said.
"The measures we have taken so far have kept Territorians safe," the Chief Minister said.
"There continues to be no community spread of the virus in the Territory, I don't take this for granted.
"With each new case that is confirmed in Australia, the more likely it is that there will be cases here in the future."
Today we are saying all non-essential travel to communities needs to stop.Chief Minister Michael Gunner
Mr Gunner took the time to send a clear message to people living in remote communities that "we are not leaving you alone".
"Everything you need to be healthy and safe, you will have. The people you will need to be there, will be there.
"The health advice to us is also clear, you are safest in your home communities, to protect you we are keeping non-essential people away from you."
The NT's Deputy Chief Health Officer Dianne Stephens said she is "fairly confident" the outbreak has not yet spread to remote communities.
"At the moment we are putting in a range of measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus getting into remote communities," she said.
"Territory remote communities rely on fly-in-fly-out services in both the health space and the emergency service space - we will not be stopping those people from going into communities."
Unless of course they have been overseas, she said, they will have to comply with the national 14-day self-isolation rule.
"We are seeing good decisions being made across the Territory by land councils and communities and we are supporting them with the information they need to make those decisions to make sure essential services can continue into those communities," she said.
"We will ensure supply lines remain open, that health services remain open, and that law and order and emergency services are available in those communities."
The Northern Territory has carried out more than 500 tests to date, however there remains just one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Territory.
A 52-year-old tourist who tested positive to COVID-19 on March 4 remains at Royal Darwin Hospital.
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