NT officially eradicates coronavirus
THE Northern Territory has today become the first jurisdiction in Australia to officially eradicate coronavirus and record 28 days without any cases.
Today marks the 28-day milestone since the NT's last active COVID-19 case - an Australian Defence Force member who tested positive while serving overseas - was cleared of the virus on May 21.
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Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the NT was leading the nation in the fight against COVID-19 and was the first to reach this milestone of virus eradication.
"We are now in the final stretch," she said.
"It's due to the hard work, understanding, and adaptation to the new normal by every Territorian during this challenging time.
"However, it is not a time to become complacent.
"The clinical threat of COVID-19 is still very real and it only takes one case for community transmission and for COVID-19 to reach our vulnerable population.
"Our health and emergency services remain in a state of preparedness and are ready to respond should this occur."
Hospitality NT boss Alex Bruce argued that reaching this milestone should put the Territory in an even better position to open the borders soon.
"It's time to open the borders, especially now that other states also no longer have any COVID-19 cases, even if it's not for 28 days," he said.
"Every day that we don't open the borders from now on, is just more jobs, more economic pain to the Northern Territory."
It comes after Chief Minister Michael Gunner refused to follow South Australia's lead and reopen the NT's borders early.
SA opened its borders allowing Territorians to travel south without going into mandatory quarantine, from midnight Tuesday.
Ms Fyles swiftly rebuffed calls for the government to fast-track reopening the Territory's borders now that the virus has been eradicated. "We are monitoring what's happening in the other states every day," she said.
"We need to be absolutely sure that the mass protests in the south haven't led to large outbreaks.
"Then we can make an informed decision based on the medical advice.
"The Chief Minister has committed to making that decision by the end of this week."
Originally published as NT becomes first in nation to officially eradicate coronavirus