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People fleeing coronavirus check into mine camp used for US$37B gas operation

Manigurr-Ma Camp
Manigurr-Ma Camp

People escaping a deadly disease are staying at an accommodation village that used to house workers of a gas project worth US$37 billion (A$55.4B).

Hundreds of Australian residents who were evacuated from the Chinese coronavirus hotspot of Wuhan have arrived at Manigurr-Ma Camp in Howard Springs, 26km east of Darwin.

266 patients

At least 266 adults and children wearing masks and blue, protective suits checked into the camp that JKC Australia LNG built to house house staff working at INPEX Australia’s Itchy’s LNG Project. The buildings, which have been vacant since 2018, will be home to the patients for at least 14 days while they are quarantined to prevent further spreading of the disease.

The group arrived by a Qantas evacuation flight to Darwin’s RAAF base instead of Darwin International Airport. The Australian Border Force confirmed there were 77 children, 11 infants and a “less-than-able” 90-year-old man aboard.

800 dead

The viral outbreak has infected more than 37,500 people across the world and killed about 800 people. The high number of Australian evacuees has forced the Federal Government to consider using mine and military facilities for quarantine measures.

Manigurr-Ma was chosen because it has a cinema, tennis courts, swimming pool and medical centre.

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“We will use a mining camp facility in the Northern Territory near Darwin and we are working through the consultation phase with the local community and others about the implementation of those arrangements,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “My advice is that is progressing extremely well and we will be able to continue to go down the path of the planning for the second assisted departure flight.”

The Northern Territory chief minister promises there will be no health risk to residents who live near the camp.

“There will be no confirmed cases of the virus amongst the evacuees,” Michael Gunner said according to AAP. “They are not sick, they will be isolated at the site purely as a precaution only.”

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