Pine Gap traffic and COVID-19

By KIERAN FINNANE

UPDATE 13 March 2020, 11.53am: Changed image.

UPDATE 13 March 2020, 5.22pm. See at bottom.

UPDATE March 14, 1.20am: No spectators allowed today at Traeger Park footy.

 

 

My questions have been placed at number 87 in the queue and will be answered in due course.

 

Left: The C5-M Super Galaxy  at Alice Springs Airport in 2008.

 

I had contacted weary-sounding media staff in the Department of the Chief Minister, handling all the COVID-19 queries.

 

Given the bad rap the Unites States is getting in quality media, such as in this report from The Washington Post, about its handling of the now-declared pandemic, including the delay to adequate testing, which means the incidence of infection is likely under-detected, I asked:

 

Are the NT Government and its health authorities in communication with the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap about the virus and their protocols for dealing with it, in particular as there are regular incoming supply flights direct from USA?

 

Are the NT Government and its health authorities getting full access and cooperation from JDFPG on this issue?

 

I didn’t mention the cases of American entertainers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, but it is of interest that they likely were infected in USA, according to The Australian, quoting health authorities.

 

The Toorak Clinic doctor who went back to work before his positive test had also flown in from the USA, where he had started to feel unwell.

 

UPDATE 13 March 2020, 5.24pm.

 

According to The Australian, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has tested positive for COVID-19 after travelling to the US last week for a meeting of security ministers from the Five Eyes alliance.

 

The Alice Springs News has also been in touch with the Department of Defence to ask about protocols for the Pine Gap base in relation to COVID-19. We will report their answers when they come to hand.

 

IMAGE SOURCE: NT Airports Newsletter. The Super Galaxy, on its first visit to Australia, brought in Lockheed Martin civilians and members of the US Air Force from Yokoto Air Base in Japan.

 

 

UPDATE March 14, 1.20am

 

From the Mayor’s Facebook: Alice Springs Town Council wishes to advise the community that the AFLW game scheduled for TIO Traeger Park [today]  will NOT permit fans, spectators, non–essential staff at the game. Due to public health concerns, matches will only host players, coaches, essential club officials, umpires, AFL officials, broadcast teams, media & required venue staff with no supporters permitted to attend.
Go the Blues.
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