Rural doctors want strict visitor bans urgently reimposed on remote Aboriginal communities in the NT.
They say "towns like Katherine" have little health care reserve if coronavirus cases surge.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia says tourists infected with COVID-19 could wreak havoc on these communities and cause hundreds more deaths from the disease.
RDAA's call coincides with concerns from the residents of Mutitjulu - an Aboriginal community close to Uluru - that tourists flying to the nearby airport from interstate hotspots could spread the virus to the community.
Restrictions to the NT's remote communities were lifted in June, although non-residents wanting to go into a remote community must still follow the requirements of land councils and local communities.
RDAA says the lifting of restrictions leaves too much scope for coronavirus to impact the communities.
"Given the evidence of community spread in the eastern states, and some people providing false declarations at state borders - or crossing some state borders illegally - the NT Government should move quickly to again restrict access to its remote Aboriginal communities," association president Dr John Hall said.
"Most tourists will do the right thing and quarantine once in the NT if they have come from a hotspot area.
"But there are others who - either unwittingly or purposely - will not declare where they have traveled from, will skip quarantine, and may then visit a remote Aboriginal community.
"With large tracts of remote areas having their resident Aboriginal communities rely on centres like Katherine and Alice Springs for their healthcare, these towns have very little reserve for a surge in cases.
"COVID transmission in these towns would almost certainly translate to a pandemic for more remote communities, as Aboriginal communities rely on these larger towns as service centres.
"Without visitor restrictions in place, it is only a matter of time before coronavirus gets into one or more of these fragile communities, and once it does the result could be devastating.
"Border protections only work while everyone follows the rules and acts honestly.
"By the time authorities discover that someone has got across the border by making a false declaration, they could have already spread the virus...and it will be too late.
"The NT Government cannot take this chance.
"It must move urgently to reinstate access restrictions to its remote Aboriginal communities, to protect some of its most vulnerable citizens."
Dr Hall said while Western Australia largely remains locked down from the rest of Australia, some areas of that state had reopened internally to tourists and travellers. However, restrictions on entry to remote Aboriginal communities in WA remain in place to protect the health and wellbeing of residents.
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