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COVID cases confirmed at mine camp used for US$37B gas operation

Manigurr-Ma Camp
Manigurr-Ma Camp

Multiple people have tested positive for a deadly disease at an accommodation village that used to house workers of a gas project worth US$37 billion (A$55.4B).

Four Australian citizens, who the federal government helped fly back from India, have been diagnosed with coronavirus while staying in mandatory quarantine at the Manigurr-Ma Camp in Howard Springs, 26km east of Darwin.

The infected passengers came from a special Qantas Airways repatriation flight from New Delhi that landed at Darwin International Airport on 27 October 2020.

Active cases

The very next day a 31-year-old woman was found to be carrying the virus without symptoms despite testing negative when she boarded the flight. She was moved to an isolation room and Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) are closely monitoring her condition.

On October 29, a further four repatriated passengers from the same flight were discovered including an 82 year-old female, 31 year-old male, and two 3 year-old children. The discovery means the accommodation camp is home to all of the Northern Territory’s active COVID cases.

“All patients are well and remain at the Centre for National Resilience Howard Springs under the medical care of AUSMAT,” the NT Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet said in a public statement. “The total number of active cases in the Northern Territory is now five.”

‘Higher risk group’

QMEB can reveal between 5 and 10 per cent of all international flight passengers could test positive for the disease because they belong to a “higher risk group”.

All five patients will remain in isolation under “strict infection control measures” until their condition improves.

Quarantine rules breached

At least two previous arrivals were separately caught breaching quarantine rules. The NT Police Force fined a 33-year-old woman for allegedly trying to climb over the perimeter fence and separately a 57-year-old man who was accused of not wearing a face mask outside his unit and behaving aggressively.

Failing to abide by chief health officer directions can bring fines of $5056 per person and $25,280 for each business.

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