Letter to Senior Territorians from Ken Davis, CE of Territory Families
24 Mar 2020
To: Senior Territorians
Date: 23 March 2020
Subject: Coronavirus advice for senior Territorians
As the Chief Executive of Territory Families and the responsible officer for the Office of Senior Territorians, I wanted to touch base with you about coronavirus (COVID-19) as we enter these unprecedented and challenging times.
We understand that the emergence of coronavirus can cause concern amongst our community, particularly our senior members. I want you to be assured that the Australian and Northern Territory Governments are taking this very seriously and are implementing measures for the safety and protection of all Australians, Territorians and seniors.
It’s very important in a time when the news is being updated regularly to stay calm, plan for different possibilities and to look after yourself.
As the situation is constantly changing, I wanted to provide you with an update on the latest measures that have been announced by the Prime Minister and Chief Minister about coronavirus.
NORTHERN TERRITORY BORDER CONTROLS
The Chief Minister has announced that the Chief Health Officer has granted further directions under the Public and Environmental Health Act that allow Police to exercise their ability to control the entry of persons into the Territory to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus and keep Territorians safe.
From 4.00pm on Tuesday 24 March 2020, the Northern Territory will implement strict border controls for all access points – by road, rail, air and sea.
All people, including Territory residents who arrive in the Northern Territory from interstate will be required to quarantine for 14 days, with penalties for those who do not comply.
There will be exemptions to the quarantine period requirement, including health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight, with strict guidelines in place to monitor and manage this. Arrivals will have to show they meet the essential arrival criteria to be granted an exemption. There will also be exemptions granted on compassionate grounds.
This will not impact the delivery of essential goods and services. Food and freight will continue. Our supermarkets and stores will be stocked.
PLACES OF SOCIAL GATHERING
The Prime Minister yesterday announced a range of additional measures and restrictions on social gatherings to slow the spread of coronavirus and keep the community safe.
These new stage 1 restrictions will be implemented through state and territory laws and while they will be reviewed on a monthly basis, we should expect these measures to be in place for at least six months.
The following facilities will be restricted from opening as of Monday 23 March at 12pm. These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with these venues.
- Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
- Cinemas and entertainment venues
- Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the one person per four square metre rule applies.)
- Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation) and casinos
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.
Other facilities are not impacted at this time, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.
These restrictions do not apply to essential activities such as supermarkets, pharmacies, medical and health care facilities, public transport, banks or shopping centres at this stage.
Practicing good hygiene and keeping a healthy physical distance between individuals is our most powerful weapon in fighting this virus and saving lives.
It is up to each of us to apply social distancing measures including keeping 1.5m in distance between yourself and those around you. Apply stringent hygiene practices including washing and sanitising your hands regularly, trying not to touch your face and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms, so it is important that you apply these measures and look after yourself. Restrictions on entering aged care homes have also been implemented to further protect seniors.
In the event that you need to self-isolate it is important that you make a plan for how you will manage if you are confined to your home for two or three weeks. This means having an adequate supply of your prescription medicine, food and other essentials such as food for your pets.
COTA NT has indicated that if you require delivery of essential goods in Darwin and Alice Springs, you can contact them for assistance on 89411004.
Seniors Month is held each year in the Northern Territory during August, and at this stage, planning for the event will continue to go ahead. Grants for the event opened this week and we are encouraging organisations to apply by the closing date of 19 April 2020 at the Seniors Month Grants webpage. Territory Families will update you if there are any changes regarding Seniors Month. You can also can also contact the Office of Senior Territorians on 8999 3861 or at .
Please keep up to date with the latest information and restrictions by visiting securent.nt.gov.au or visiting the Australian Government Health website https://www.health.gov.au/ as the situation is constantly evolving and changing. There is also a dedicated COVID-19 national hotline number that can be contacted on 1800 020 080.
It is also important during this time to stay connected. Please identify family, friends and neighbours and others in your network that can help you if you are in need. If you are having trouble staying connected, reach out and contact COTA, who can assist and refer you to someone who can help.
We are working together as a Northern Territory community and as you are a valued member of that community it is important that we share health and safety messaging and cooperate to manage this unprecedented event. Your contribution to keeping our communities safe is valued and appreciated. Take care.