NT declares all of Victoria a COVID-19 hotspot as Qantas passengers head to Howard Springs



A planeload of passengers from Melbourne have been sent into supervised quarantine at Howard Springs after flying into Darwin about 15 minutes after the NT government’s latest coronavirus restrictions came into force.

The Qantas flight landed at Darwin just before 12:15pm with those on board put on buses to take them to the Howard Springs quarantine facility.

On Wednesday night, Northern Territory Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain declared all of regional Victoria a hotspot, which followed last week’s move to declare Greater Melbourne and Bendigo hotspots.

The latest declaration came into force at 12:00pm.

“The declaration follows a continual increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases being recorded in Victoria with exposure sites expanding across a wider geographical area,” a NT Health statement said.

The statement said anyone who arrived in the NT from Victoria after 12:00pm on Thursday, June 3 must undertake 14 days of supervised quarantine at either the Alice Springs or Howard Springs facilities.

Shane Robinson was waiting at Darwin airport for his 18-year-old daughter, who was making the trip to celebrate his birthday.

He said she would probably have to fly back to Victoria on the next flight, which was extremely disappointing for both of them.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the hotspot measure was necessary even though restrictions are set to be eased in regional Victoria overnight.

Dr Pain added the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria would potentially put the NT at greater risk.

But Hospitality NT boss Alex Bruce said the move to declare all of Victoria a hotspot was “disappointing”.

“Making all of regional Victoria excluded from the Territory right now at a time when the Victorian health authorities look like they are actually going to ease some of those rules down there is a question many in our industry are asking,” he said.

The Finke Desert Race runs between June 11-14 while the Darwin Supercars race takes place between June 18-20.

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Travel Update with Uschi Howard from The Travel Compass in Yass


Managing Director at The Travel Compass in Yass Uschi Howard says that whilst international travel appears a while away, domestic travel is currently incredibly popular.

“The news in travel is that our borders are going to be closed as they say officially until mid next year if not later, and I think by mid next year we will probably have a bit more than New Zealand, we might have the South Pacific but it’s now all about travelling within Australia.”

“People have their bucket lists that they beforehand might’ve said ‘that’s too expensive, for that, I can go to Paris or the U.S’ and now they’re saying ‘well we can’t go to Paris or the U.S and it doesn’t matter how expensive it is so let’s do it’,” she said.

The “bucket list” items currently require a bit of time and planning, as many people share similar ideas when it comes to a domestic holiday.

“You will struggle to get onto the Indian Pacific this year, so everybody’s got the same idea,”

“I would say if there’s a bucket list item you want to do, come and talk to me and I’ll give you the reality check of ‘you can’t do this next week, even though you think nobody is travelling there’s a lot of people travelling’,”

There are options to pre-book international holidays for 2023, but Uschi suggested steering clear of those options, with so much uncertainty remaining around the world due to the pandemic.

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“There is stuff you can book for 2023 already like world cruises, but again you have to pay a deposit, put money down and then you don’t know whether you’ll get it back.”

“You’ll always get it back in the form of a credit, but so many people have so many credits they’re getting a bit blase about it,” she said.

Uschi also suggested to those that are opposed to being vaccinated, that they should get used to the idea of not being able to leave the country when borders do finally open.

“The vaccine will help and if you want to travel in the future you’ll have to have a vaccine.”

“A lot of people say ‘well I don’t want to be forced to have a vaccine’, but when people used to go to obscure Asian destinations or Africa or South America, they had to have typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis shots and people would do it without even asking another question,” he said.

The travel industry is no doubt one of the hardest-hit industries due to the pandemic, with Uschi making a plea to those with holidays to book in Yass, to consider using her services.

“Use your local travel agent because if you don’t they’re going to die!”

“If we survive the next three or four years it could go back to some decent exposure, but we need the support of the clients to make that happen,” she said.

Max O’Driscoll

 

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Victoria weighs up quarantine village similar to NT’s Howard Springs facility


Flexibility and adaptability will be the key for the proposed Victorian quarantine village, the architect of the Northern Territory’s model says.

Premier Daniel Andrews is considering establishing a version of the Howard Springs quarantine facility.

James Dorrat, is the technical director at Aecome, which designed the Manigurr-ma gas plant workers’ village in Howard Springs outside Darwin in 2012.

James Dorrat says the village could be used after the COVID-19 threat subsides.(

Supplied: Aecom

)

“It is motel-style accommodation and so keeps people distant,” he said.

“It can be used long-term as a recreation or tourist part, a camp facility for educational institutions, or for gradual integration into the local surrounding community.

“Our brief was specific at the time, but we also designed the flexibility and adaptability into it.

Looking ahead

Mr Dorrat said a similar design would not take long to produce, but offsite manufacturing and installing underground infrastructure would be time consuming.

“It’s not a case of just plonking things on the ground and hoping for the best,” he said.

“After this pandemic, the village could be used for things like bushfires, or other accommodation to provide a life for the village.”

Howard Springs’ $400 million village features self-contained “suburbs” with courtyards, parks and breezeways.

It also has a pub, a fully equipped sports centre with gym, pitches, courts, swimming pools and a jogging track.

The award-winning 67-hectare Manigurr-ma Village, 20km east-southeast of Darwin, was completed by Laing O’Rourke in 18 months in August 2013.

It was used to house some 3,500 workers who were building the $34 billion Inpex-Total Ichthys LNG onshore facility on Darwin Harbour.

The village was vacated in 2019 and was handed over to the NT government just before the pandemic hit.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Brett Sutton at a COVID-19 press conference.
Daniel Andrews, seen here with Brett Sutton, is weighing up a quarantine facility for Melbourne.(

ABC News

)

Mr Andrews said he was weighing up a facility near Melbourne’s airports.

“People would be in the same location but would not be sharing the same spaces, so they’re not under the same roofline,” he said.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said something akin to the Howard Springs village would be “fantastic”.

“An open-air setting with a real distance between rooms is … what we’d all love to see,” he said.

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Howard Springs prepares for travel from India to resume



This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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NT senator warns over Howard Springs staff


A federal government senator has cast doubt on Scott Morrison’s promise to expand the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine centre.

The prime minister has pledged to lift the capacity from 850 to 2000 beds this month in a move crucial to allowing repatriation flights from India to restart.

The NT government has recruited 160 of the 400 staff it needs to manage Howard Springs when it takes over from the federal AUSMAT team now in charge.

NT Nationals senator Sam McMahon believes the capacity “absolutely can’t” be lifted to 2000 beds because of the staffing shortage.

“It would be foolish to try and ramp up the facility to 2000 unless the required staff are there,” she told reporters in Darwin on Wednesday.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has warned Australians in India could die as a result of the flight pause, which he recommended was necessary to stop quarantine from being overwhelmed.

Senator McMahon said she had major concerns about transferring responsibility from the AUSMAT team to the NT government.

“It is an extremely well-managed and functioning facility under AUSMAT,” she said.

“But I have received assurances from the Northern Territory government and also from federal minister Greg Hunt that AUSMAT will remain involved as long as they are needed to be involved.”

There are 9000 Australians with 650 considered vulnerable trapped in an agonising wait for the government to lift the travel ban.

Mr Morrison expressed confidence in allowing the NT to take over Howard Springs during a visit to Darwin and surrounds last week.

“We wouldn’t have entered into those arrangements were our expert advisers and medical experts not comfortable,” he said.

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Scott Morrison announces Howard Springs coronavirus quarantine facility will increase capacity


The Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine facility will soon be responsible for quarantining 15 per cent of all Australians returning on international repatriation flights.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs quarantine facility would expand to accept 2,000 returned Australians a fortnight, up from 850.

Speaking after National Cabinet, Mr Morrison said the Commonwealth had entered into an agreement with the NT government to expand the workers’ camp.

“That will be done over the next few months,” he said.

“That is an important addition to the capacity of those quarantine facilities, to receive those return chartered flights that Australia has been putting in place for many, many months.”

After Mr Morrison’s announcement, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner revealed the management of the facility would undergo a significant change — with the NT Government taking over both the domestic and international quarantine operations.

“The Territory government will assume management facility from the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth will continue to work hand in glove with us,” he said.

Mr Gunner said merging the domestic and international cohorts “is what the Australian government wanted us to move to [and] we are more than happy to take on that responsibility.”

Currently the NT Health department is responsible for domestic arrivals at the facility from interstate, while international arrivals are managed by the federally-funded National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC).

Mr Gunner would not say how much extra money the Commonwealth was providing to fund the expansion.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner is standing in front of a microphone with a serious expression. Behind him is the Australian flag.
Michael Gunner says the NT Government will work to increase the cap on arrivals at the centre.(

ABC News: Michael Franchi

)

Mr Gunner said this decision had been aided by a significant decrease in domestic travellers needing quarantine and that the change would not increase the risk of the virus getting out into the community.

“What we are moving towards is the same model, with many of the same people involved, but a clearer governance structure and clear certainty of who is accountable for what,” he said.

NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said police had long favoured consolidating operations into “a single governance model” and that the removal of federal oversight would not damage operations.

“The infection and control procedures that we have in place are world class and that is held equally in NT Health as it is with the NCCTRC,” he said.

Vista into the sun from a height looking over the fence at the reception and carpark of the village
The former mining workers’ village outside Darwin has been taking 850 arrivals a fortnight.(

ABC News: Michael Franchi

)

“NCCTRC play an incredibly important service to the rest of the country and to international hotspots when they are called upon. We want to make sure that their ability respond is not dulled.”

Mr Gunner said the expansion of the facility would be a “huge logistical job” and that work would begin immediately.

“We have agreed to this expansion because we know Howard Springs can play a larger role for the nation without compromising the safety of Territorians.”

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Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 25 seconds

Inside the Howard Springs quarantine facility

Mr Gunner said the workforce at the centre would need to increase from over 100 to 500.

“A recruitment drive will start this month, and new staff will start and be mobilised from May,” he said.

More than 4,600 international arrivals have quarantined at the Howard Springs quarantine facility since repatriation flights to the Northern Territory began on October 23.

The former workers’ village housed Australians evacuated from Wuhan and the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship before it began taking on Australians returning on federal government-organised repatriation flights.

The village was vacated in 2019 and was handed over to the NT government just before the pandemic hit.

There have been 67 positive COVID-19 cases identified at the facility since flights began last year.

There have been no cases of community transmission in the Territory, with all cases related to international or interstate travel.

Mr Gunner also confirmed that the vaccine roll-out in the Northern Territory was on track, with 1,840 frontline health workers inoculated so far and more than 2,200 vaccines delivered in total.

He said the NT government would receive its first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines next week and would begin administering doses immediately.

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Authorities hose down concerns about NT government taking over Howard Springs coronavirus quarantine centre


The head of the specialist health team running the country’s “gold standard” coronavirus quarantine facility says his staff will not leave until they are confident the Northern Territory Government can safely manage a major expansion of the centre.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced the number of international repatriations to the Howard Springs facility near Darwin would more than double to 1,000 arrivals each week from May.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner then revealed the NT Health Department would take over management of the facility, which has been partly run by the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) since October.

The surprise change has sparked concerns within the NT Opposition and Australian Medical Association NT, which have questioned how the 400 extra staff required will be attracted to the NT and trained.

But speaking for the first time since Friday’s announcement, NCCTRC executive director Len Notaras said he was confident the change would be done safely.

He said there was “no definitive time frames” for the handover and AUSMAT workers would remain at the facility while new staff were trained.

“AUSMAT will continue — and this is important to stress — will continue to lead, operate, and manage the site until such a time as we are satisfied with, one, the consolidation and, two, the transition to the new collaborative arrangement,” he said.

“With the mentoring and with the leadership, the transfer that we will ensure happens, I am confident. If we were just turning the lights out and throwing the keys on the porch, that’d be a different story.”

Len Notaras says the transition from his specialist team to the NT government can be done safely.(

ABC News: Nicholas Hynes

)

NT Health has been managing the domestic section of the facility, where no cases of coronavirus have been recorded in people arriving in the NT from interstate.

The AUSMAT team has managed what has been considered the higher-risk cohort of Australians repatriated from overseas, with 67 cases recorded among the almost 4,800 international arrivals at the centre to date.

No cases of community transmission have leaked into the community.

NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro on Monday questioned why the government was taking full responsibility for the centre.

Mr Gunner said on Friday that merging the two sections of the centre was the wish of the federal government, which would continue to fund the operation.

But a spokesperson for Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told the ABC: “The NT Government has decided to develop a state-led model of quarantine delivery designed to meet the needs of a larger program similar to other jurisdictions.”

A photo of the Howard Springs quarantine facility, showing a row of dongas each with a small verandah out the front.
The currently separate domestic and international sections will be merged under the new model.(

ABC News: Jane Bardon

)

Professor Notaras said his emergency response service never intended to manage the facility long term and it had to be ready to deploy to other emergencies.

“Part of the key of our success is our ability to hand over,” he said.

“We will continue to provide advice, how to ensure the safety and efficiency of the ongoing response, but we’ll be keen to get on with our own tasks.”

Union questions whether extra staff can be found

The NT Government said it would soon launch a nationwide recruitment campaign to find hundreds of new health workers and support staff to run the expanded facility.

But as the global pandemic continues and the national vaccine rollout begins, the Health Services Union has questioned where those staff will come from and how they will be trained.

“Everyone who is or was a health worker is pretty much tied up at the moment,” SA/NT branch secretary Billy Elrick said.

“The expansion is happening very quickly — over two months — that’s not much time to train people up with the appropriate infection-control measures required to work at a facility like this.”

Professor Notaras said the goal of 1,000 weekly arrivals from May was achievable and health staff would be drawn to the NT.

“We’ve got the advantage of a stellar product, a gold-standard product,” he said.

“People want to come because they see that experience will be phenomenal.”

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Russell Howard | Special Stand Up Show


Russell Howard | Special Stand Up Show

Russell Howard | Special Stand Up ShowRussell Howard | Special Stand Up Show

Fresh from the sell-out success of his recent Respite tour Russell Howard returns to Melbourne for a special stand-up show documenting his experiences of Australia.

What makes Australia unique? What is so special about its society history people and culture? Russell Howard has been traveling the length and breadth of the country on a mission to discover and poke fun at what it means to be an Aussie.

Join him on March 16th at Melbourne’s Athenaeum for a special evening of comedy. This show will be recorded for television as part of Russell’s upcoming travelogue series!


❊ When & Where ❊

Date: Tuesday 16th March 2021

❊ Venue ❊

 Athenaeum Theatre  Events 31
Events
⊜ 188 Collins Street Melbourne | Map

Athenaeum Theatre188 Collins Street, Melbourne, , 3001

✆ Event: | Venue: 9650 1500

Book Online Here

MyCity Save


❊ Be Social ❊

❊ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update ❊

As Victoria takes action to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), events may be cancelled at short notice. Please confirm details before making plans | Disclaimer


❊ Web Links ❊

Russell Howard | Special Stand Up Show

→ Russell Howard – Respite


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19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021
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ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community Concert


ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community Concert

ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community ConcertANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community Concert

A free musical event for the whole family to enjoy featuring the ANAM Orchestra, Howard Penny (ANAM Head of Strings, Resident Cello Faculty ‘ Chair of Cello, Supported Anonymously) and special guest host Lloyd Van’t Hoff (ANAM alumnus).

The program will include excerpts from:

DVORAK Symphony no. 8 in G major, op. 88

J STRAUSS Jr Polka Ãljen a Magyar

Howard Penny cello/director

Lloyd Van’t Hoff host (clarinet 2014)

ANAM Orchestra

FREE EVENT ‘ BOOKINGS REQUIRED


❊ When & Where ❊

Date: Sunday 21st March 2021

Times: 2.30pm – 3.30pm

❊ Venue ❊

 St Kilda Town Hall  Events 2
Events
⊜ 99a Carlisle Street St Kilda | Map

St Kilda Town Hall99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda, , 3182

✆ Event: +61 3 9645 7911 | Venue: 9209 6777

Book Online Here

MyCity Save


❊ Be Social ❊

❊ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update ❊

As Victoria takes action to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), events may be cancelled at short notice. Please confirm details before making plans | Disclaimer


❊ Web Links ❊

ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community Concert

→ anam.com.au

→ ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the Dance


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View Event: NGV Triennial

NGV Triennial
The NGV Triennial is a free exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria

19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021
National Gallery of Victoria

NGV Triennial 2020 ..

Stay in TOUCH

A free weekly wrap of what’s on | More..


Tags: classical music, Dvořák, Strauss


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ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the Dance


ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the Dance

ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the DanceANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the Dance

ANAM 2021 Opening Concert

The Poet, Nature and the Dance – Featuring Howard Penny and the ANAM Orchestra

‘This program is about Romanticism with a capital ‘R’. We hear the passions and fevered inspirations of the poet in Schumann’s rarely played Manfred overture, the warm sounds of Bohemian countryside and an array of dances of the Danube in Dvořák’s symphony, and Strauss with a Hungarian accent to bring things to a fizzing close. From the poet’s garret, to the village green, to champagne at the ball – it’s all here!’

‘ Howard Penny

ANAM Head of Strings, Resident Cello Faculty (Chair of Cello, Supported Anonymously)

SCHUMANN Manfred Overture

DVORAK Symphony no. 8 in G major, op. 88

J STRAUSS Jr Polka Eljen a Magyar

Howard Penny cello/director

ANAM Orchestra

*Save 10% with an ANAMates Membership


❊ When & Where ❊

Date: Saturday 20th March 2021

Times: 7pm – 8pm

❊ Venue ❊

 St Kilda Town Hall  Events 2
Events
⊜ 99a Carlisle Street St Kilda | Map

St Kilda Town Hall99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda, , 3182

✆ Event: +61 3 9645 7911 | Venue: 9209 6777

Book Online Here

MyCity Save


❊ Be Social ❊

❊ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update ❊

As Victoria takes action to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), events may be cancelled at short notice. Please confirm details before making plans | Disclaimer


❊ Web Links ❊

ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: The Poet, Nature and the Dance

→ anam.com.au

→ ANAM Orchestra & Howard Penny: Community Concert


Trending HOT

View Event: NGV Triennial

NGV Triennial
The NGV Triennial is a free exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria

19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021
National Gallery of Victoria

NGV Triennial 2020 ..

Stay in TOUCH

A free weekly wrap of what’s on | More..


Tags: classical music, Schumann, Dvořák, Strauss


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