Alice Springs, Australian town 800 miles from nearest city, locks down after positive coronavirus case

One of the world’s most remote towns has been put into lockdown due to possible exposure to coronavirus.

Alice Springs is roughly 800 miles from the nearest city in Australia – Darwin or Adelaide – and is located almost exactly in the centre of the island continent.

Roughly half of the Australian population is now under stay-at-home orders, as the country seeks to keep the prevalence of coronavirus at a minimum.

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Less than 30,000 people live in Alice Springs, but it also provides a hub for remote industry in the Australian outback like mines, as well as nearby indigenous populations.

Now, everyone in the town has been told they need to stay at home for three days – only being allowed to leave for food, healthcare, exercise, work and to provide care for others.

It comes after a man who travelled through Alice Springs’ airport later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The man arrived on a charter flight from a remote gold mine on Friday, spent seven hours in the terminal, and then travelled onwards to Adelaide on the southern shores of the country.

Speaking on Wednesday morning local time, Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner said: “On Saturday 26 June, after returning to Adelaide, he got a COVID test. That result was not positive.

“However, he has since developed symptoms while isolating in Adelaide and four of his five household contacts have now tested positive.”

The man then also tested positive.

Mr Gunner said: “It is unlikely that he was highly infectious during his time at Alice Springs airport. But, like all other other decisions we will not take a punt on this.

“We will operate on the assumption that he has COVID-19 and we will operate on the assumption that he was infectious while in the Territory.”

And to make matters worse, a mine worker from the same site who flew directly from the pit to Brisbane on Friday also tested positive for COVID.

The Northern Territories, the state in which Alice Springs is located, currently has six active cases of the virus.

Australia managed to avoid large outbreaks of the COVID, with only 30,560 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.

However, with Johns Hopkins University reporting less than 6% of the Australian population being fully vaccinated, there are concerns about the speed at which the country can get immunised.

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