Northern Territory police confirmed that three people had escaped from the Howard Springs quarantine facility on the outskirts of Darwin on Wednesday morning.
This was after they were reported to have scaled the fence at 4:40 am on Wednesday and fled the area.
The three abstainers, all teenagers from Binjari near Catherine, were close contacts from the community and were taken back to Howard Springs.
Police commissioner Jamie Chalker said it is located on the outskirts of Palmaston, Darwin’s planned satellite city, 10 kilometers from Howard Springs. They tried to escape when they found the police, but were eventually arrested.
Chalker said loneliness and isolation are likely to have contributed to the trio’s decision to abstain, given that they are accustomed to living in overcrowded conditions as well as in single rooms.
“We can’t have people at every doorway,” he said, saying that staying in the facility is a clear priority, and anyone in need of support within the center needs to contact the staff there. I added.
Prime Minister Michael Gunner confirmed on social media that the trio tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Also, the health risk of the community is low because it is unlikely that you have contacted members of the community during the run.
“But there is no excuse for these three actions this morning,” he said.
Gunner emphasized that Howard Springs is neither a prison nor a playground, and that it is tough because it must.
“The staff at the center are doing a great job. They are doing the best job they can in the situation they face. Thank you for their work,” he said.
However, he sympathized with those who were quarantined, especially those who were accustomed to being close to their families and communities.
The three teenagers did not abstain first. A man on the 13th day of quarantine, allegedly fled the facility on Friday night, was arrested in a Darwinian pub later that night. He is also negative for COVID-19 and is unlikely to pose a threat to the community.
Meanwhile, as of noon Wednesday, three COVID-19-positive cases were detected in the territory in the last 24 hours. Two of them are crew members of a recent London flight and are closely related to the first positive cases on that flight. Minister Gunner said in a social media post.
They are both located at the Howard Springs facility and genomic sequencing is underway to determine which mutants they carry.
The third case is an infant in Binjari who was isolated from his family in Howard Springs for the entire duration of the infection.
The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the territory is currently 59.