‘NT should close its borders now,’ say Territorians
EVERYDAY Territorians are overwhelmingly united, saying the NT should follow Tasmania's lead and close its borders.
From Friday night, all non-essential travellers arriving in Tasmania will be forced to quarantine for two weeks in coronavirus border measures dubbed the toughest in the country.
Premier Peter Gutwein declared a state of emergency for the Apple Isle on Thursday.
"We are going to introduce the toughest border measures in the country. Only essential travellers will be allowed into Tasmania without going into quarantine," he told reporters.
"From midnight, Friday 20 March, all non-essential travellers departing for Tasmanian will be required to quarantine for 14 days," he said.
"This is a tough, but necessary decision to flatten the curve, putting Tasmanians' health and wellbeing first."
In the NT, Territorians have overwhelmingly responded we should take a similar stance.
"Absolutely, before any more cases end up here. Too many immune compromised people in the communities would be catastrophic," Del Jordan posted.
"Yes I agree! BUT what about our food source (trucks need to drive up here)! We are dependant on our Southern states for lots of things. Food, building materials and the list goes on.....," Christine Habel wrote.
"Good stuff, NT needs to do the same," Cameron Leighton posted.
Director of Research at The Demographics Group, Simon Kuestenmacher, said the NT's remote geography is both a significant advantage in controlling the spread of the virus, but also means that it would have more devastating effects on the Territory than any other jurisdiction if it did spread.
"Demographically speaking the NT is in a good position because it is a remote state - the usual disadvantage is an advantage," he said.
"It doesn't mean you can be completely careless … things could be significantly worse in the NT."
He said that closing the NT's borders is the best way to protect vulnerable Territorians.
"If the goal is to stop spreading the virus … the idea to close the borders makes sense," Mr Kuestenmacher said.
"I think it's particularly important where you have so many remote communities where medical equipment and support is hard to get.
"If a disease spreads in a remote community, good night."
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Michael Gunner did not rule out the option of closing the NT's borders.
When asked if the option of closing the NT's borders was "not off the table" on Wednesday afternoon, replied he would "do whatever it takes" to protect Territorians.
However, he said keeping freight trucks rolling into the Territory with supplies was a priority.
"I absolutely think we need to discuss nationally the general movement of people," he said.
"I'm extremely mindful of the fact that we need to protect Territorians.
"My focus right now, my priority right now, is protecting remote communities."
Tasmania's new border rule is similar to federal measures announced on Sunday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said all overseas arrivals into Australia had to self-isolate for 14 days.
Originally published as 'NT should close its borders now,' say Territorians.