The Northern Territory Government has revoked Greater Metropolitan Sydney as a hotspot despite NSW recording five new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, and more warnings from the Chief Health Officer to keep a mask handy.
Following close monitoring of the recent clusters of COVID-19 cases in the Greater metropolitan area, the NT's Chief Health Officer Dr Hugh Heggie said he was "satisfied with the extensive public health response New South Wales is undertaking".
However, positive COVID-19 cases confined to Sydney's Western Suburbs have prompted the CHO to "create a ring of safety".
As of 11am Tuesday, the New South Wales Local Government Areas of the City of Blacktown, City of Canada Bay, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, City of Fairfield, City of Parramatta, Cumberland Council, Inner West Council, Municipality of Burwood, Municipality of Strathfield, have been declared a hotspot.
People currently in mandatory quarantine who travelled from areas in Greater Metropolitan Sydney that have been revoked as hotspots will now be able to exit.
NSW recorded five new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) January 12, 2021
Eleven cases were also recorded in returned travellers, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,845 pic.twitter.com/Eg5fYSS5bA
"I am confident in revoking Greater Metropolitan Sydney as a hotspot and declaring hotspots across the Local Government Areas of risk to create a ring of safety," Dr Heggie said.
"This is a localised and specific approach that has been reviewed and considered and provides a proportionate response."
In a press conference yesterday, Dr Heggie renewed calls for Territorians to be prepared and carry a mask, saying "I ask everybody, have they got a mask? It is important to have one if you can't physical distance from others."
The declaration echoed that of the Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Charles Pain who in October reversed the government's position of the previous several months and urged Territorians to wear face masks in busy public spaces.
'We are doing the heavy lifting', Gunner confirms more international arrivals
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has also confirmed the number of international arrivals into Darwin will increase as Australians stuck overseas continue to urge the government to establish a safe path home.
Announced yesterday, Mr Gunner said the intake will grow steadily from 500 arrivals a fortnight to 850.
"We are stepping up, we are doing the heavy lifting, not just for the Territory but for the nation," he said.
"As usual, the Australian Government is in charge of where people come from and when they come. We are in charge of looking after them when they get here."
Mr Gunner said the costs of quarantining the extra arrivals at Howard Springs will be covered by the Commonwealth, citing the NT as the "safest place in Australia".
"The Center for National Resilience, run by the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Center continues to be Australia's gold standard for quarantine and all Territorians can take pride in that," he said.
"While the rest of the country, understandably needs to reduce the number of international arrivals they bring in, we can safely and responsibly increase our numbers, because we are the safest place in Australia with the best quarantine facility in Australia."
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