Australia

Lockdown eases in NT Aboriginal community

“This shows us the hard lockdown is working and caring for close contacts in quarantine is working,” he said.

All Rockhole residents have tested negative for the virus and health restrictions in the Aboriginal community have eased from a hard lockdown to a normal lockdown.

About 100 residents are now permitted to leave their homes for the usual five reasons.

But they were told to stay away from neighbouring Binjari, 330km south of Darwin, with six people from the community diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the ADF has rejected false social media posts about the military’s involvement in Top End’s pandemic response.

The misinformation alleges infected Aboriginal people are being forcibly transferred to quarantine facilities while likening them to the stolen generation.

Some traditional owners also accused ADF personnel of holding down people in some Indigenous communities and injecting them with the vaccine.

The posts have been shared and reposted hundreds of times on Facebook and other platforms and there are fears they could threaten efforts to contain an outbreak.

The ADF called for social media users to report the “spurious” claims, saying they were “deliberate disinformation”.

“Defence is aware of social media posts claiming the Australian Defence Force is forcibly vaccinating or detaining members of the Australian community,” a spokesman said in a statement.

“These claims are emphatically false.”

About 85 ADF personnel are assisting police and health workers in and around the Katherine area, 320km south of Darwin, with food deliveries to vulnerable communities and transporting close contacts to testing facilities.

They are also helping police at vehicle checkpoints.

Mr Gunner urged people to ignore the posts, saying Defence personnel were carrying fresh food for locked-down communities and vulnerable people, not guns.

He said hundreds of health workers, police, military personnel and NGO staff were working around the clock to stop the outbreak.

“We are trying to protect the oldest continuous living culture on the planet,” he said.

“If anybody thinks we are going to get distracted or intimated by tinfoil hat-wearing tossers sitting in their parents’ basements … then you do not know us Territorians.”

The majority of the people infected are Indigenous Territorians.

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